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American millionaire funded transfer of West Bank church to settlers

May 28, 2015 12:12 P.M. (Updated: Jan. 9, 2016 2:42 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- A Swedish company established in 2007 was used to cover up the sale and transfer of a West Bank church compound to settlers funded by American millionaire Irving Moskowitz, Israeli media reported.

The church compound, located nearby the Palestinian refugee camp al-Arrub between Bethlehem and Hebron, has been in the spotlight for the last week due to contradicting allegations regarding the compound's ownership.

Pastor Keith Coleman, who heads the church that owned the compound since the 1940s, told Haaretz that the compound was sold to a Swedish company called Scandinavian Seamen Holy Land Enterprises in March 2008.

While Coleman believed the company was a church group based in Haifa planning to renew the use of the church, Haaretz reported that, "the Swedish group was established in Stockholm in 2007, and seems to have been used as a cover for transferring the ownership of the compound to the settlers. The group does not seem to have any offices."

After buying the property, the Swedish group registered the purchase with the Israeli Civil Administration in 2012 and received necessary approval, the report said.

Following registration with the Civil Administration, the Swedish company announced its dissolution. The group had no offices or assets except for this church compound at the time, Haaretz said.

Ownership was then passed to the nonprofit organization American Friends of the Everest Foundation. The American organization operates from occupied East Jerusalem. and its sole contributor is American millionaire Irving Moskowitz.

Haaretz reported that the Everest Foundation owns several properties in occupied East Jerusalem totaling a value of $12 million.

The report added that Moskowitz is also the main funder behind the activities of Israeli right-wing activist Aryeh King, founder and director of Israel Land Fund, an organization that buys Palestinian property and homes for resale to Jews with the aim of 'Judaizing' occupied East Jerusalem as well as Palestinian neighborhoods in Israel.

The report came after last week Arie Suchovolsky, an Israeli lawyer who told Ma'an he represented a Swedish church that owned the compound, rejected claims that the church had been sold, saying that "the church is the owner of the compound, and we are refurbishing it to be a hostel to serve Jews, Muslims and Christians who pass by."

Actual renovations being carried out to prepare the church compound for transformation into a new West Bank outpost comes to the dismay of local Palestinians.

The church lies in a sensitive location, which when settled, will see Israeli settlements stretch all the way from the Gush Etzion settler bloc south of Jerusalem to the cluster of settlements around Hebron.
Mel / UK
Money ill spent, Moskowitz. Seeing as Zionist-led,occupying Israel is doomed to implode anyway. Natural selection, dude!
28/05/2015 12:46
spb / usa
now how many time we heard it was never sold before. it seems that any high claim of attachment melts down as the dollar amount rises
28/05/2015 14:07
Johnny benson / USA
Of course money talks....and bulls..t walks....just why was it sold?....for the money of course ....and so what ...the Arabs need to learn to live with Jews ...or leave...Ireland and Sweden look good ..and in holland they don't have to even work....
28/05/2015 19:30
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