MembersTug of War over Prime Real Estate

The Palestinians have taken their struggle against Israel to the courts, seeking control of valuable real estate in Jewish neighborhoods of West Jerusalem.

By Aviel Schneider |
PRIME PROPERTY: The Palestinians are challenging Jewish claims to neighborhoods in West Jerusalem, including Ein Karem, the village of John the Baptist Photo: Yossi Zamir/Flash90

Several years ago, the Palestinian Authority created a special department to list properties in the western part of the city which were owned by Palestinians prior to the establishment of the Jewish state in1948. The descendants of these families now want to sue the State of Israel, and the number of cases in Israeli courts has increased dramatically.


During the War of Independence, Palestinians fled Jerusalem and left their homes located outside of the Old City. At the same time many Jews were forced to flee their homes, mostly in the Old City’s Jewish Quarter. After the war, the fledgling State of Israel administered the abandoned houses under the Absentees Property Law.


In the first years of the state, these houses and apartments were given to new Jewish immigrants. The homes still stand today, and the old, classic Arab architecture has made...

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