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Anticipating court decision, Israel builds wall around Abu Dis hotel

Feb. 16, 2014 11:54 P.M. (Updated: Feb. 16, 2014 11:54 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma’an) – Anticipating a negative decision by the Israeli Supreme Court, Israeli authorities on Sunday started to build a section of its separation wall around a hotel in East Jerusalem.

Locals told Ma’an that bulldozers escorted by large numbers of Israeli troops arrived in the morning and started to erect a wall made of huge T-shaped concrete blocks around the Cliff Hotel.

The hotel will be separated from the East Jerusalem Palestinian town of Abu Dis to be eventually confiscated under Israel’s law of absentee property.

The Cliff Hotel is a four-floor building 50 meters from the Palestinian parliament in Abu Dis.

Its original owners are members of the Ayad family, have been waging a legal battle to stop construction of the stretch of the separation wall around the hotel. All the owners hold Palestinian identity cards.

Since 1996, the Israeli authorities have been trying to confiscate the hotel and take control of it for several reasons, says lawyer Bassam Bahar who has been defending Palestinian lands in Abu Dis.

He highlighted that the Israelis claimed the hotel belonged to a Jewish family and would be annexed under absentee property law. Sometimes, they cite security pretexts to confiscate the hotel, he added.

The lawyer highlighted that the Israeli authorities started construction work around the Cliff Sunday morning because they anticipate the Supreme Court to rule against an alternative route. He added that the Israeli attorney general had decided that the hotel was not an absentee property.

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