Israel gave settlers land deals in J'lem Arab neighborhoods

November 7, 2010 18:32

JERUSALEM — The Israeli government sold or leased property in the pre-1967 Jordanian-controlled Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem to Israeli settlers at exceptionally low prices, helping them cement a Jewish presence there, court documents published on Sunday show.

Documents released by the court are the first to show how easily settlers were able to put down stakes in these areas with the help of successive Israeli governments. In one case, a 3,660-square-foot building in the Old City was sold in October 2006 for $190,000 — a fraction of its market price.

The documents were published after official request was filed by anti-settlement activists who sought a comprehensive accounting of the government's deals with two settler groups, Elad and Ateret Cohanim.

The documents refer to 11 properties. But activist Dror Etkes stated that the state is withholding information on other deals because nearly two decades ago, a government-appointed commission identified 68 land transactions involving the state and the two settler groups.

The Israel Lands Authority declined to comment.

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