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Israel continues wall around disputed Jerusalem hotel

March 27, 2014 4:45 P.M. (Updated: March 29, 2014 4:25 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) – Israeli bulldozers on Thursday continued to build a section of the separation wall around the disputed Cliff Hotel in Abu Dis, lawyer Bassam Bahar said.

Bahar, who also heads a local committee to defend Abu Dis lands, told Ma'an that the Israeli Supreme Court decided a few days ago that the wall should run around the Cliff Hotel for security reasons.

The court order also included confiscation of the hotel's rooftop citing security reasons.

The Israeli authorities claim that an absence of the separation wall in that area "jeopardizes the security of the state of Israel," Bahar highlighted.

The lawyer added that the "Israeli occupation authorities have been trying to confiscate the Cliff Hotel and the land surrounding it under various pretexts and by different means."

A year ago, he added, there was a decision to confiscate 2,900 square meters of land "for public purposes." Furthermore, by the beginning of 2014, there was a decision to confiscate 1,400 square meters more for "public purposes and security reasons."

The case was sparked in 1996 when Israeli forces took control of the hotel citing security reasons.

They withdrew in 2003 and since then they have been trying to regain control of the building. The Israeli forces occupied the hotel and have been using it ever since as a watchtower.

In 2009, the Palestinian family who owns the hotel appealed to the Supreme Court to restore their property.

In September 2013, the Israeli attorney general decided that the absentee property law was not applicable to the hotel. He decided that the Supreme Court should have the final say about that property.

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