Buildings in Hevron
Buildings in HevronIsrael news photo: Flash 90

Palestinian Authority conmen in Hevron have managed to use the Jewish community’s desperation for housing to make a quick profit, while giving nothing in return. Criminals have forged papers showing ownership of abandoned buildings in order to sell the buildings to Jews.

After money has traded hands and Jewish families have moved in and done repairs, the true owners of the building have come forward with their papers, and the Jews have been evicted.

The trick has worked at least twice. In 2006, Jews were kicked out of Beit Shapira. Six years later, the Jerusalem District Court has ordered that Jewish families be expelled from a second home within a month.

The tricksters fooled local PA Arabs as well. In order to locate abandoned buildings for use in their schemes, they claimed to be representatives of a Saudi charity that would repair homes for PA Arab use.

The Hevron Jewish community aims to rebuild what was for hundreds of years a large, thriving Jewish community in the City of the Patriarchs. However, the community faces a severe housing shortage.

Jewish community leaders said anti-Semitic PA policies make it hard for them to prove ownership. Under PA law, Arabs who sell property to Jews can be put to death.

“The verdict in the case of the Tel Rumeida home shows clearly that any Arab who sells to a Jew in Hevron faces the death penalty,” they said. “The government of Israel is not dealing with this anti-Semitic law, and even cooperates with it."

“As a result, despite having paid well for thehouse, we have encountered many difficulties in proving the sale,” they said. They called on the government to “put an end to this unbearable situation, in which any purchase of a home in Hevron by Jews must go through back channels.”