Israeli Paper: Turkey Helping Palestinians Retrieve Land Grabbed by Israel

Israeli Paper: Turkey Helping Palestinians Retrieve Land Grabbed by Israel

Palestinian women planting olive seedlings on their land.

Ankara has given the Palestinian Authority (PA) a copy of the Ottoman archives undermining Israel's claim on Palestinian land, Israel Hayom reported.

The archive includes dozens of land registry documents for land around the Ottoman Empire, which ruled Palestine between 1516-1917. Lawyers from the PA are already using the materials in the archive, in order to undermine Israel's claim on land around occupied Palestine, and especially in Jerusalem and the West Bank.

According to Israel Hayom, the first complete copy of the archive was delivered to the Palestinian representatives in Ankara. In March 2019, part of it was transferred to Bethlehem. The Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center documented this, as well as the transfer of the entire archive. But for some reason - even though the PA received a tool that could shake up Israel's entire real estate market - this story went "under the radar" and nothing happened.

A key player at the Bethlehem ceremony was Yousef Adais, the PA official in charge of endowments, who received the files related to the Waqf's properties in Bethlehem and Jerusalem.

Now, lawyers from Jerusalem's Palestinian neighborhoods are regularly turning to the archive in order to locate information. These documents aid them in the legal battles they wage over Israel’s claims to many properties, mostly in the Jerusalem area. One of the clearest examples of this is the properties and plots of land in the Old City.

The most well-known of these is the Western Wall plaza, where a Mughrabi neighborhood once was, and which Israel destroyed in order to create a plaza for Jewish worshipers. This is land that Israel expropriated.

Judge Musa Shakarneh, chairman of the PA's Lands Authority, has been handling registry of land in the West Bank and Jerusalem registries, with the aid, among other things, of Turkey and its Ottoman-era archives.

In an interview with Wafa, Shakarneh explained that the land registration of Arabs who live abroad are helping him implement the "right of return."

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