AG: Decision to seize Palestinian property made without my consent (HA´ARETZ NEWS) By Yuval Yoaz, Aluf Benn, Meron Rapaport and Gideon Alon, Haaretz Correspondents 01/31/05 14:19 (GMT+2)
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Attorney General Menachem Mazuz announced Monday the government´s
decision to confiscate East Jerusalem property owned by Palestinians
was made without his knowledge or consent.
Mazuz made the
written statement in reaction to a request by the
Association for Civil Rights in Israel that Mazuz nullify the
decision. Mazuz also said the matter is being examined urgently and
that in the next few days he will comment on the land seizure, which
was reported in Haaretz two weeks ago.
Israel has promised the
United States that it will re-examine its
decision, made last summer, to seize property in East Jerusalem that
is owned by Palestinians who have been cut off from their land by the
separation fence. Mazuz has been in his post since last
The Americans have expressed concern about the
expropriation of land.
In response, Israeli officials said they understood the sensitivity
of the matter and promised to take another look at the government
Israeli officials said they expected that U.S.
Secretary of State
Condoleezza Rice will be bringing up the issue today at her meeting
in Washington with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon´s envoys, attorney Dov
Weisglass, political adviser Shalom Turgeman, Israeli ambassador to
the U.S. Danny Ayalon and the premier´s military secretary, Major
General Yoav Galant.
The main subject of the meeting - in
advance of Rice´s trip to Israel
and the Palestinian Authority next Sunday - is the political process
with the Palestinians and the planned summit between Sharon and
Palestinian Chairman Mahmoud Abbas the following Tuesday.
is to visit Israel and the territories next Sunday, two days
before the February 9 summit. Israeli sources said they expect Rice
will probably also visit Iraq.
The Americans seek to establish a
mechanism supervised by the CIA to
sustain the emerging security cooperation between Israel and the PA,
even if there are terrorist attacks by organizations trying to
disrupt the process.
Israeli steps to aid Abbas
Weisglass team will present Rice, who is expected to be joined by
National Security Adviser Steven Hadley, with Israel´s suggestions
for confidence-building measures to help Abbas. These include handing
over West Bank cities to the Palestinians, release of hundreds of
Palestinian prisoners and detainees, and more freedom of movement for
Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz is also slated to
meet with senior PA
official Mohammed Dahlan Monday or Tuesday, to continue discussing
the hand-over of five West Bank cities: Ramallah, which will
apparently be the first, Bethlehem, Qalqiliyah, Tul Karm and Jericho.
Israel is worried that the PA security forces in the West Bank,
unlike those in the Gaza Strip, have been completely debilitated in
the last four years and are not prepared right now to take over the
cities as Israel is proposing.
Dahlan, who is expected to be
named a minister in the new Palestinian
government - possibly with responsibility for coordinating the
disengagement from Gaza and the northern West Bank with Israel - is
to bring a detailed security plan to Mofaz at their meeting. Mofaz,
in any case, said Sunday that he thinks the cities can be handed over
in a matter of days. (© Copyright 2005 Haaretz. 01/31/05)
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