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UAE selling Saudi funded properties in East Jerusalem al-Quds to non Palestinians

This aerial view taken on May 21, 2021, shows the Jala Tower in Gaza City, that was levelled by an Israeli air strike during the recent military conflict between Israel and the Palestinian enclave ruled by Hamas, after a ceasefire brokered by Egypt. / AFP

Since the normalization of ties between the United Arab Emirates and the Israeli regime, the two sides have taken advantage of every opportunity, at every turn, to cement their friendship.

Inviting the Emiratis to visit al-Quds Mosque in Jerusalem al-Quds and tour the Occupied Territories whilst the Palestinians themselves are faced with restrictions of movement; or hosting the first Holocaust Remembrance Day in the Arab world in the UAE, while political activists are perishing behind bars in the country; these are all tell-tale signs of close cooperation between the two sides, with the main focus on the LAND OF PALESTINE.

The Palestinian website Al-Qastal has recently revealed that the United Arab Emirates has taken part in selling properties in East Jerusalem al-Quds.  Quoting informed Palestinian sources, Al-Qastal wrote, "The UAE is involved in selling three properties to settlers in the Batn al-Hawa neighborhood in the Silwan area in East Jerusalem."

Emiratis purchase East Jerusalem property via Palestinian Asians

Well, first of all we have to do know that there were rumors for a while, even before the normalization between Israel and the UAE, regarding the buying of property, especially in East Jerusalem, by the Emirates through many Palestinian Asians. These rumors were very strong in Jerusalem and in all Palestinian territories in general. We don't have proof of anything yet, but I don't believe that there isn't, you know, fire without smoke, so it's probably. That could be the case in Jerusalem.

Sa’d Nimr, Professor of Political Science, Birzeit University, Ramallah

Recently, groups of settlers managed to seize these buildings and a plot of land under the protection of the Israeli occupation police, after the site was handed to settler associations by the Emiratis.

Calling the Emirati dealers “real estate looters", families from the town of Silwan have decided to boycott them for what they consider to be an act of betrayal.

Apparently, the occurrence of this story is going ahead in all over the West Bank, not only in that site, but if that happened, it means that they are even, you know, going ahead with Israel and buying properties in East Jerusalem to change the demography and that's the, what is really wanted to do in the Old City of Jerusalem. And now, apparently, according to this, the Emirates are helping them with such, you know, acquire these, these properties in there.

Sa’d Nimr, Professor of Political Science, Birzeit University, Ramallah

In the ongoing struggle to reclaim their homeland, the Palestinian people regard East Jerusalem al-Quds as the future capital of a Palestinian state and therefore selling to settlers land and properties located in this area as an act of desecration.

It is not the first time the Emirati middlemen acted as fronts in the purchase of a number of homes in the historically Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan.

According to a dealer who has bought homes on behalf of Emirati agencies, "When a person agrees to sell, they’ve exhausted all options. They can no longer manage the debts they owe. When an Emirati organization offers to purchase the property, they see it as a chance to get out of the mess they’re in."

Israel-UAE normalization harms Palestinians

We heard just recently that some of the Emiratis and even people from Saudi Arabia congratulate Israel for the Independence Day, forgetting that this day is the Nakba Day for the Palestinians.

It's the time when the Palestinians were kicked out of their homes, and we are talking about 900,000 Palestinians who were kicked out from that home for Israel to declare its independence, as they put it, between brackets, so to congratulate them as if you are you know now also congratulate the Palestinians for the Nakba?

So I think that their normalization by the Emirates is absolutely harming again harming the Palestinians, and this is not going to help the Palestinians in any way. To the contrary, they are confirming the occupation over the Palestinian areas.

Sa’d Nimr, Professor of Political Science, Birzeit University, Ramallah

At the same time, the UAE's all-weather ally, namely Saudi Arabia is undermining the Palestinian cause in another front.

In one his recent interviews, Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud has pointed out that “The normalization of Israel’s status within the region would bring tremendous benefits to the region as a whole.”

In fact, while Saudi officials lecture on the benefit of normalizing ties with the Israeli regime, there are concerning reports about Palestinian detainees in the Saudi kingdom.

The Palestinian Hamas group has recently called on Riyadh to release all Palestinian prisoners kept in the country.

The group says there are at least 60 Palestinians in Saudi prisons. Hamas says the detainees used to work for the Palestinian cause in compliance with Saudi laws.

The problem is that these Palestinians in Saudi Arabia when arrested had done nothing against the Saudis or any Saudi society or Saudi state at all. The only thing that they believe or they belong or they viewed Hamas as, you know, a Palestinian organization.

It has nothing to do with the imposition of Saudi Arabia to declare Hamas as a terrorist organization but these people did nothing to you that showed you that these people were arrested, only because of their mind and their freedom of speech or for them, opinion, rather than doing anything against Saudi Arabia and we definitely ask and demand the Saudis to release all these Palestinians.

Sa’d Nimr, Professor of Political Science, Birzeit University, Ramallah

One of the detainees is former Hamas representative to the KSA Dr Mohammed Al-Khudari who was detained on 4 April, 2019, along with his son, as part of a large-scale campaign targeting Palestinians.

According to Amnesty International, "Dr Mohammed al-Khudari and his son Dr Hani al-Khudari were arbitrarily arrested and remain in detention without charge.

They were held incommunicado and in solitary confinement for the first three months of their detention. Dr Mohammad al-Khudari requires adequate medical attention and treatment for cancer."

In the last year or two years, the Saudis have taken a new position on the Palestinian question, especially with Hamas. By putting Hamas on their terror list, considering Hamas and its members, as a terrorist, and I think they are all totally following the American and Israeli path in this in this regard. Because of that some people from Hamas, or have been known as Hamas were in Saudi Arabia's and they were arrested, Hamas was trying all the time, through many channels and directly, It try to talk to the Saudi government to release those people, including this old man, that we talked about and he's very ill and sick in prison. We had to go to all sorts of international organizations, regarding the, the human rights in order to release these Palestinians.

Sa’d Nimr, Professor of Political Science, Birzeit University, Ramallah

Reliefweb says "These detainees were placed in various prisons, including Al Haeer, Dhahban, Sha'ar, Dammam and Asir, and were not granted their legal defense rights." The leading humanitarian information source adds, "The detainees, who are students, academics, businessmen and workers in relief institutions, have been isolated from the outside world for several months, their bank accounts have been frozen, and their money confiscated."

At the end of the day, even if Saudi Arabia did not officially normalise the relationship with Israel, but they are approving it in a way or another and they are having some kind of relationship with Israeli leaders, and there are talks also between them. So we know that but maybe maybe because of their position, leading, as they say, the Islamic world, they can't go ahead and do it officially and openly but they are doing it from under the table.

Sa’d Nimr, Professor of Political Science, Birzeit University, Ramallah

At a point in time, when the Palestinian people need more help from their Arab brothers in the face of the encroaching enemy, to their dismay, they have realized that their brothers are behind almost all acts of betrayal against their sacred cause. 


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