Beilin: Government decision on East Jerusalem Palestinian property is undemocratic

By Meron Rapaport

Haaretz

Shvat 13, 5765

Responding to a report that the cabinet met in July 2004 and adopted a decision to expand the powers of the Custodian of Absentee Property to East Jerusalem, Yahad Chairman Yossi Beilin said Saturday that the decision equated to stealing property, and that it was undemocratic.

As a result of the government decision, Palestinian property in East Jerusalem, or, more precisely, the assets that residents of the West Bank hold in East Jerusalem, will be distributed.

According to Beilin, who served as Justice Minister under former prime minister Ehud Barak, government of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon did what no government has done before.

"Neither from the left nor from the right, no one dared to do this, to take the property rights of Palestinians in East Jerusalem," Beilin said. He also announced that he would convene the Yahad faction so as to fight against the decision, and he hopes that Justice Minister Tzipi Livni will annul it.

MK Mohamed Barakeh (Hadash) said in response to the report that the decision is a new "war crime" committed by the Sharon government. The decision, Barakeh said, proves that, "Sharon's real disengagement is a disengagement from all accepted agreement for a final settlement."