US investors are funding Arab property takeovers in Jerusalem

US investors are funding Arab property takeovers in Jerusalem

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, Rights groups in Jerusalem are warning that Israel has discovered new ways to circumvent US and international pressure to hamper Jewish settlement activity in the holy city by utilizing the judicial system to legally back the confiscation of homes and eviction of their residents.

Less than 24 hours ago on Tuesday a group of Israeli settlers under Israeli police protection were able to legally take over a three-storey home in the city’s Al-Farouq district, after it slipped into their paws about five years back.

The Jerusalem center for social and economic rights reiterated accusations against Israeli and US companies for buying and funding the seizure of Arab homes in the holy city, calling on the US administration to take sanctions against any American citizen who funds illegal settlement activity or seizure of private Palestinian property in the occupied east Jerusalem.

The center cited Jewish-American millionaire Irving Moskowitz as a key funder of settlement activity in Jerusalem, who is involved in the takeover of tens of Palestinian properties. He also financed the Maalih Hazaytem settlement and strong-armed a number of properties in Sheikh Jarrah.

The American Wal-Investment real estate company was reported to have been involved in a number of suspicious property buyouts, the last of which was the Al-Farouq home which was illicitly bought from the Qaraein family.

The company was known in the past for being behind purchases throughout controversial Jerusalem areas in cooperation with Elad and other Moscowitz-funded settlement foundations, responsible for erecting around 130 settlement outposts in and around the city of Jerusalem.

The center reported that the Israeli government has provided Elad and other funds with unlimited financial backing. Last year the government placed an area known by Jews as the Holy Basin under the control of Elad and other active funds.

Under the pretext of building the city’s infrastructure and developing its religious sites, the government approved an NIS 85 million budget two days ago to build up the Aqsa Mosque’s Buraq Square, known by Jews as the Wailing Wall.

World politicians have criticized the conversion of the Aqsa Mosque area, considering the move a part of a greater plan to erase Jerusalem’s Islamic identity and replace it with Judaic themes.

“The Buraq Square is an Islamic endowment and part of the Aqsa Mosque,” said Organization of the Islamic Conference secretary Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu.

He added that Israel’s works in eastern Jerusalem are a “flagrant violation of international law.”

The Turkish official warned that Judaization policies in the Aqsa Mosque and surrounding areas “would affect the religious, architectural, historical, and cultural aspects of Jerusalem.”