Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Chaim Levinson

Almost All West Bank Land Deals for Illegal Settlements Forged

From straw men to cash-stuffed suitcases, new investigation reveals that 14 out 15 acquisitions by right wing firm of West Bank lands from Palestinians were forged.

In recent years, whenever the state sought to evacuate illegal outposts in the Binyamin region, Al-Watan officials would announce that they had bought the local lands from their Palestinian owners. The documents often turned out to be forged.

A police investigation that was opened in the case ended, and the case was transferred to the state prosecutor. The police did not interrogate Hever, but by questioning a chain of straw men it emerged that 14 of the 15 supposed deals were forged.

An investigative report by Raviv Drucker documents two Palestinians who acted as straw men for Al-Watan.

The straw men would buy the lands from people using forged documents purpoting to be those of the real landowners (many of whom are no longer alive) and then transfer them to Amana in a fake deal.

One of them, Akram, said to the camera, “I signed on many plots and lands.” Referring to the land upon which the outpost of Amona was established he said: “I signed in Silwad,” he said, referring to a West Bank Palestinian town northeast of Ramallah. “They told me there is land with such and such a number, and another plot with number… sign. I signed so many times for many lands. I made five or six deals.”

He added: “I told them I am signing for all the Palestinians, but let me live in Israel because of my children. My children are in Israel, and I don’t see them, and I am always entering Israel and going to jail because I have no permit, and I tell them in the investigation that I am threatened. I have a problem in the Palestinian Authority, and I am threatened unless you let me live in Israel. I sold [land] because they would help me, and no one is helping me. I am suffering from complexes now.”

Straw men, cash suitcases

The two straw men attest that at the signing, an Israeli lawyer from Jerusalem, who was investigated in the case and who name is barred from publication under a gag order, handed them a suitcase with half a million shekels ($126,400).

When they go outside, the lawyer takes the suitcase back. The goal is to fake a deal. Mohammed, one of the straw men who was interviewed, said that he sat with the lawyer in a restaurant, and afterwards went up to his office.

“He told me that this man’s friend cannot put the land under his name because of the Income Tax Authority,” he explained. “I signed on the papers and afterward he gave me a suitcase full of money and told me, ‘Take this.’ When I went downstairs, he took the money back and told me, ‘Take, this is what you get.’ That’s all.”

The investigative report documents attorney Eytan Lehman meeting with Akram at a gas station after he learned that Akram was speaking with Drucker, and instructs him to call him and tell him that he does not remember anything, without realizing that he was being recorded.

“The question is if you can have the conversation with him,” he said in the recording. “Tell him [Druker] perhaps I no longer remember he story blah blah blah, and then he will tell you: ‘but don’t worry, I know the whole story.’ Tell him what does he mean ‘know the whole story,’ for you don’t remember what I said to the police or something like that … Try to get it out of him without him understanding.”

Hever responded by saying he does not have knowledge of the report’s content.

Al Watan responded to the report, saying all of their land deals were done legally.

‘Palestinian only’ bus lines in Israel? A demand from Jewish settlers…

Starting on Monday, certain buses running from the West Bank into central Israel will have separate lines for Jews and Arabs.

The Afikim bus company will begin operating Palestinian-only bus lines from the checkpoints to Gush Dan to prevent Palestinians from boarding buses with Jewish passengers. Palestinians are not allowed to enter settlements, and instead board buses from several bus stops on the Trans-Samaria highway.

Palestinian workers commuting from the West Bank to jobs in central Israel are considered a security risk?

Freedom is for everyone, no matter their color or ethnicity.</p><br /><br />
<p>http://visualizingpalestine.org/infographic/Bus-SegregationFreedom is for everyone, no matter their color or ethnicity. http://visualizingpalestine.org/infographic/Bus-Segregation
 published on Mar.03, 2013 in Haaretz: “Israel introduces ‘Palestinian only’ bus lines, following complaints from Jewish settlers”

Last November, Haaretz reported that the Transportation Ministry was looking into such a plan due to pressure from the late mayor of Ariel, Ron Nahman, and the head of the Karnei Shomron Local Council. They said residents had complained that Palestinians on their buses were a security risk.

Palestinian protesters on an Israeli bus line in the West Bank last year.

Palestinian protesters on an Israeli bus line in the West Bank last year.

The buses will begin operating Monday morning at the Eyal crossing to take the Palestinians to work in Israel. Transportation Ministry officials are not officially calling them segregated buses, but rather bus lines intended to relieve the distress of the Palestinian workers.

Ynet has reported that fliers are being distributed to Palestinian workers notifying them of the coming changes.

Any Palestinian who holds an entrance permit to the State of Israel is allowed by law to use public transportation.

Officials at the Samaria and Judea District Police have said there is no change in the operation of the rest of the buses, nor is there any intention to remove Palestinians from other bus lines. But Haaretz has in the past reported incidents when Palestinians were taken off of buses, and witnesses at checkpoints say that such incidents are ongoing.

Ofra Yeshua-Lyth is a member of Machsom Watch, a female advocacy group monitoring West Bank checkpoints. She says that recently, Bus 286 from Tel Aviv to Samaria arrived at a checkpoint filled with Palestinian workers. She filed the following report:

“Police officer Advanced Staff Sergeant Major Shai Zecharia stops the bus at the bus stop. Soldiers order all the Palestinians off the bus. The first thing they do is collect all their identity cards as they get off. One by one, the Palestinians are told to go away from the bus stop and walk to the Azzun Atma checkpoint, which is about 2.5 kilometers away from the Shaar Shomron interchange.

All of them responded with restraint and sadness, at most asking why. Here and there they received answers such as, ‘You’re not allowed on Highway 5’ and ‘You’re not allowed on public transportation.’ Advanced Staff Sergeant Major Zecharia gave some vital information to one of the older Palestinians who had arrived there, telling him: You should ride in special vans, not on Israeli buses.”

In response to the report, the Transportation Ministry said it “has not issued any instruction or prohibition that prevents Palestinian workers from riding the public bus lines in Israel or in Judea and Samaria. Furthermore, the Transportation Ministry is not authorized to prevent any passengers from riding those lines.”

“The two new lines that will be run as of tomorrow (Monday) are intended to improve the services to Palestinian workers that enter Israel via the Eyal Crossing,” the ministry’s statement continued, adding that the new lines will replace the “pirate” driving services who have been transporting Palestinian workers “at exorbitant prices and in an irregular fashion.”

According to the ministry, the new lines will depart from the Tzofim area near Qalqilyah and will transport workers to their places of work in the Sharon region and Tel Aviv, at “especially cheap prices.” For example, the tariff for traveling to Kfar Sava or Raanana will be NIS 5.1, and to Tel Aviv will cost NIS 10.6. This is compared to some NIS 40 that passengers have been charged by the private transportation services for each direction, the ministry said.

“The new lines will lessen the burden that has formed on buses as a result of the increase in numbers of working permits provided to Palestinians, who are permitted to work in Israel and will contribute to the improvements of services, for the betterment of Israelis and Palestinians as one”, the statement said.

The Samaria and Judea District Police have yet to respond to the report.

(I am wondering: Is Israel in need of Palestinian workers so badly in urgent public work (like building more Walls…) that it allocated special buses at low tariff to get Palestinians quickly to work? Why not remove the multitude of barriers and checkpoints?)

Note: I think I read that Palestinians have bombed two “Palestinian-only” buses yesterday


adonis49

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adonis49

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