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Fatah: Israel planning mall in East Jerusalem

May 11, 2010 6:53 P.M. (Updated: May 12, 2010 9:14 P.M.)
Jerusalem – Ma'an – Israel is planning to build a shopping mall in East Jerusalem on three dunums of land owned by the Palestinian Authority Ministry of Endowments, behind the US Consulate, Fatah Jerusalem Affairs official Hatem Abdul Qader said Tuesday.

The land's trustee was handed down administrative orders, including eviction notices, from the director of the Israel Lands Administration, claiming the land as government owned rather than residential, Abdul Qader said.

The new building plan, filled as 4832 A in Israel's Jerusalem Municipality, was ratified by all the necessary Israeli municipal departments and is prepared for implementation, he said.

The land tipped for evacuation and confiscation belongs to Ash-Sheikh Shams Ad-Din Al-Yamalli, and the land has been owned by the Islamic Waqf for over 400 years, the Fatah official added, and is being rented by three Palestinians.

Abdul Qader said lawyer Majed Ghanaem will launch an appeal to overturn the claim in an Israeli court, which include the eviction of lands numbered 160, 161, 162 and 169, part of which is currently a Palestinian-owned parking lot.

"It is ironic that the latest settlement has crawled up in the areas surrounding the US consulate in East Jerusalem," Abdul Qader said, in light of US guarantees vowing to pressure Israel to halt settlement building for the duration of indirect talks with Israel.

On Monday, an Israeli cabinet official construction would continue unabated in East Jerusalem, in spite of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's assurances that a slow-down would be implemented in light of Palestinian entry into US-brokered proximity talks.

Speaking to Israel's Army Radio, cabinet secretary Zevi Houser said construction in the occupied part of the city "will start soon" and that "construction in Jerusalem is going on as normal."

Meanwhile, President Mahmoud Abbas called on US to respond to reports that another settlement in occupied Jerusalem was underway, as Netanyahu's spokesperson, Nir Hefez told the Army Radio that "a timetable for construction in East Jerusalem will be arranged in order to avoid diplomatic embarrassment," referring to Israel's announcement in March during US Vice President Joe Biden's visit to the region in a bid to kick start talks.

The Israel Land Administration is the Israeli government agency responsible for managing 93% of Israel's land, which includes the Jewish National Fund purchases and land sections off for the Development Authority. However land in East Jerusalem, occupied by Israel in 1967, is not internationally recognized as sovereign Israeli territory.

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