Illegal West Bank homes for US Jews

Real estate fair encourages American Jews to buy homes in illegal Israeli settlements.

    There are 260,000 Jewish
    settlers living in the West Bank
    Ten settlements deep inside the occupied Palestinian territory are being promoted at the fair.
    'Ideological investment'
    Investors are assured that according to Israeli law there is no possibility of their ownership rights being violated. No mention is made of the fact that all of the settlements are illegal under international law.
    Your Views

    "The land of Israel belongs to both Jews and Palestinians - as long as there are people who reject this fact, the conflict will never be solved"

    Iskander, Boston, US

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    The settlements breach the Geneva Conventions and Security Council resolutions 446, 465 and 471, which require the dismantlement of settlements.
    They also breach UN resolutions which demand that Israel withdraw to the pre-June 1967 borders and give back all of the occupied lands.
    The potential investors are being told that hundreds of young families who cannot afford to buy houses are waiting to move into the settlements, providing them with a guaranteed rental market if they decide to purchase.
    Aliza Herbst, the project director, describes the purchase of a second home in a settlement as an "ideological investment". She says: "They could make more on their money by putting money in the bank."
    'Facts on the ground'
    The fair is part of a wider effort by the Jewish Settlers Council to get Jews from around the world to buy houses in the West Bank.
    There are currently 260,000 Jewish settlers living in the West Bank. Although there are an estimated two-and-a-half million Palestinians living there, 60 per cent of the area is under Israeli control.
    According to the Washington-based Foundation for Middle East Peace, the number of Jewish settlers in the West Bank increased by almost 6 per cent in 2006.
    Chater says: "The creeping annexation of Palestinian land by Israel has continued apace under the watch of the prime minister, Ehud Olmert.
    "The settlements are outside the blocs Israel expects to retain in any inal status agreement with the Palestinians. More facts on the ground being cemented which will put the prospect of any such agreement further away than ever."

    Al Jazeera readers said that more than 50 people, including Muslims, Jews and Christians staged a demonstration outside the synagogue where the land sales were taking place.
    "The organisers of the demonstration also protested to the state and local legal authorities that these sales are illegal," said Rosa Hill in an e-mail.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera



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