Israeli lawyer uses inside knowledge against settler group
Published June 21, 2016 Associated Press
from The Associated Press:
"This May 17, 2016 photo shows construction on land owned by Palestinian Mohammad Abu Ta’a, in east Jerusalem. Abu Ta’a discovered some years ago that the Israeli government had expropriated the piece of land in Jerusalem belonging to his family and handed it over to a leading organization that oversees Jewish settlement building in the West Bank."
"Now, the Palestinian landowner is fighting back in an unusual way -- enlisting Israeli lawyer Stephen Berman whose inside knowledge of the system is helping Abu Ta’a expose the settler organization’s property grab."
"JERUSALEM – A few years ago, Mohammad Abu Ta'a discovered that some storage trailers had disappeared from a plot of land in Jerusalem belonging to his family. Then, the family received a letter informing them they were now trespassers."
"When the Palestinian landowner contacted Israeli land authorities, he was told the government had expropriated the land and handed it over to a leading organization that oversees Jewish settlement building in the West Bank. That group, Amana, is now building its new headquarters on the land."
"Following a paper trail of old maps and land registry documents, Berman said he uncovered how Israeli civil servants, stretching back decades, abused their power to seize control of the tiny but attractive triangle of real estate from the Abu Ta'a family in east Jerusalem and give it to Amana, a 40-year-old organization that spearheads the construction of Jewish settlements in east Jerusalem and the West Bank."
"The organization, which has been investigated multiple times for fraudulent real estate deals, has helped plan and build numerous government-sanctioned Jewish settlements and unauthorized outposts."
"An investigative program on Israel's Channel 10 TV in February reported that Israeli police investigated 15 West Bank land acquisitions where settlement outposts were built and found that Amana's subsidiary had forged documents for 14 of them. The subsidiary denied the claims."
"The Amana organization is a settler organization that deals with construction of settlements ... many times on stolen Palestinian land," said Hagit Ofran of the anti-settlement watchdog group Peace Now. "We are not surprised to see them stealing land also in Jerusalem."
"The trouble here is that the government is helping the settlers to take over this land," Ofran added.
[Stolen land] ...expropriated land went into building the Israeli national police headquarters, government ministries and large Jewish neighborhoods, which the international community considers illegal settlements."
Read the whole unjust theft story at
In the Light for Justice and Human Rights,