EU Condemns Israel For Returning Property to Owners, Evicting Squatters (JEWISH PRESS) By: Malkah Fleisher 04/22/12)
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The European Union on Saturday condemned the eviction of Arab
squatters from a house in Beit Hanina on Wednesday, despite an eight-
year court case proving that the land they occupied belonged to Jews.
The EU missions in Jerusalem and Ramallah issued a statement on
Saturday in which they “condemn the eviction of the Natche family
from their home in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Beit Hanina”.
They also stated that they were “deeply concerned by the plans to
build a new settlement in the midst of this traditional Palestinian
The statement follows condemnations of the eviction issued by UN
Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for the Occupied Palestinian
Territory Maxwell Gaylard. “Evictions of Palestinians from their
homes and properties in occupied territory contravene international
law, including the Fourth Geneva Convention, and should cease,”
Gaylard said in a public statement.
The EU’s stance on the ownership of the property comes in contrast to
the finding of the courts that the land and two buildings in which
the Natche family lived were purchased 35 years ago by a Jew and were
also owned by Jewish residents prior to the founding of the state of
Israel in 1948.
The repossession of the property was coordinated by Israeli police
and overseen by the Israel Land Fund, which will work to develop the
property into apartments for Jewish residents.
Squatter Khaled Natche refused to leave the property voluntarily,
despite a promise by the Israel Land Fund to waive NIS 250,000 in
damages the court ordered paid to the organization if they would
evacuate on their own. Natche’s brother, who lived next door to him
in the second of the two illegally occupied buildings, heeded the
court order and left the premises a few weeks ago.
Despite his refusal, Khaled Natche and his family were removed from
the dwelling on Wednesday, with their belongings removed into a
moving truck for transportation. No violence took place.
The Beit Hanina properties sit on 1.5 acres of land just a quarter of
a mile from the Jerusalem light rail.
Now that the property has returned to its owners, the Israel Land
Fund will be charged with developing a 50-apartment complex called
Nof Shmuel, named for its view on the tomb of the Prophet Samuel.
The project has already been approved by the Jerusalem municipality
and the Interior Ministry, and is awaiting construction permits,
according to Israel Land Fund president Aryeh King. (© 2012
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