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Palestinian petitions high court over seized land

Jan. 3, 2011 6:21 P.M. (Updated: Jan. 5, 2011 1:45 P.M.)
TEL AVIV, Israel (Ma'an) -- A Palestinian from a Ramallah village petitioned Israel's High Court on Wednesday over construction on his land by Israeli settlers, a rights group said.

The Israeli organization Yesh Din is supporting Abed Ar-Rahman Kassem, whose land in Dura Al-Qara was seized by the Israeli army in the 1970s for military needs.

Kassem asked the court to enforce demolition orders on houses being built on his privately-owned land, which is registered in the West Bank Properties Registry, Yesh Din said.

Five structures are currently being constructed, and foundations are being laid for several more, the group said.

According to Yesh Din, the buildings appear to be housing units for residents of the illegal Beit El settlement.

No building permits have been issued for the work, and stop-work orders have been ignored.

Yesh Din's lawyers said "vast stretches of land are being stolen under the noses of the law enforcement authorities, who are aware but choose not to act against this reckless construction.

"This petition is filed knowing that without the intervention of the court, the fate of the petitioner's plot, which was taken by the IDF for military purposes only, will be the same as the fate of other plots on which the settlement of Beit El was erected: a fate of de facto annexation to the settlement."

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