PA says Israel forging documents for settlement construction 10Jun13 June 10, 2013

Ma’an News Agency    -   9 June 2013
222790_345x230NABLUS (Ma’an) — Israeli construction companies have been forging documents to transfer land to Israel for the construction of settlements in the northern West Bank district of Salfit, a Palestinian Authority official said.

Twenty five cases were discovered, of which five involved land in the Palestinian village of Marda in the Salfit district, said Mohammad Elias, who heads the Settlement and Wall file for the PA.

Speaking at a meeting held with lawyers from the Qarawat Bani Hassan village in the district, where some of the fraudulent ownership documents were also found, Elias said the PA was working with “all possible legal tools” to continue uncovering similar deals.

“The PA looks for possibilities to resist the Israeli companies attempts to control and confiscate land,” Elias said.

The discovery follows revelations on Thursday that a plan to build a new interchange between Jerusalem and the West Bank settlement of Maale Adumim was expected to be approved by an Israeli planning committee, Haaretz newspaper reported.

The Palestine Liberation Organization has said that Israel’s settlement construction poses the main obstacles to peace talks, as the US attempts to revive long-stalled negotiations. President Mahmoud Abbas has repeatedly called off talks in the last years, citing Israel’s settlement expansion across the West Bank and East Jerusalem as the cause.

On Tuesday, chief PLO negotiator Saeb Ereket told reporters that “halting settlement activities is an obligation, not a condition. We want two states on 1967 borders. The US position has always been two states on those borders with minor modifications.”

According to UN statistics, since 1967, Israel has established about 150 settlements (residential and others) in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, in addition to some 100 outposts erected by settlers without official authorization. Three new settlements were approved in 2012 by retroactively “authorizing” such outposts.

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