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Illegal Israeli settlers and soldiers collaborate to control privately owned Palestinian lands: The case of Mahbooba Yassin Abdullah

Settlers, soldiers collaborate to control privately owned Palestinian lands

Friday September 05, 2008 07:43 by Saed Bannoura - IMEMC News & Agencies

An investigation carried out by an Israeli human rights group and published by Haaretz Israeli newspaper revealed that there is constant cooperation between Israeli occupation soldiers and illegal Israeli settlers to control privately-owned Palestinian lands using official military orders.

The investigation indicated that there is an ongoing cooperation between the Israeli soldiers and settlers in illegally annexing and controlling privately owned Palestinian lands as the army issues military orders annexing the lands and the settlers take over while the residents cannot even see the related documents.

In recent weeks, the settlers constructed two homes in an illegal outpost north of Beit El settlement. Several settlers are currently living in those homes and the so-called Civil Administration Office, which belongs to the Israeli Army, issued orders annexing the lands in question.

The Civil Administration Office admitted recently that it made a mistake after annexing a land, privately owned by a Palestinian elderly woman, identified as Mahbooba Yassin Abdullah. The army said that this land was not included in the military orders; the settlers forced the woman out of her land and installed their illegal outpost.

Mahbooba Abdullah is from Doura Al-Qare’a village, near the central West Bank City of Ramallah. She inherited her land from her father, and in 2003 the Civil Administration Office annexed the land to use it as a landing zone for military choppers.

Her son, Abdul-Ghani, said that the family did not receive any official order informing them of annexing the land, and the bulldozers prepared a sand road while the army fenced the land.

Abdul-Ghani added that that the Israeli Authorities annexed nearly 300 Dunams owned by his family and additional 800 Dunams owned by other residents of his village.  

In 2006, the Yesh Din Israeli Human Rights group said that even if the land was annexed by a military order, any construction on it remains illegal.

 The group also said that after investigating the issue, it was revealed that the military order was not regarding this land but was regarding a land on a nearby hill on the northeastern side, while the annexed land was on the western side of the hill.

On August 14, the Israeli military prosecutor responded to an appeal filed by the lawyer of Yassin family and claimed that the annex order is legal, but after new documents were provided the prosecutor admitted on August 27 that he was mistaken.  

According to official documents at the Civil Administration Office, vast areas of the northern neighborhoods of the illegal Israeli settlement of Beit El, were built illegally on privately-owned Palestinian lands, even by illegal Israeli standards.

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