Israel: Hamas Purchasing Jerusalem Land

Published: June 15th 2010
in News » Israel

East Jerusalem
Pic: file photo

Hamas, the militant Islamist group that controls the Gaza Strip, is purchasing land in Jerusalem in a struggle with other Palestinian factions jockeying for power in the Holy City, Israel’s Shin Bet security service announced on Tuesday.


“Hamas is working through Dawas (Islamic missionary and charity groups) to buy land within the municipal boarders of the city,” AFP reported Yuval Diskin telling the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee, according to officials who were at the private meeting.


Jerusalem is considered a disputed city, holy to Judaism, Christianity and Islam. It is thought to be one of the most difficult issues to resolve in the Middle East peace process. The city has long been considered a source of contention between Israelis and Palestinians, with Palestinians insisting on East Jerusalem, which Israel captured in 1967, as the capital of their future state.


Diskin told the committee that multiple Palestinian groups are fighting for influence in East Jerusalem, which contains the Al-Aqsa mosque, the third holiest site in Islam.


“The main forces operating in Jerusalem are Hamas, Fatah and the Islamic Movement. They are competing for influence and presence in the field,” he said.


While Fatah is secular and led by Western-backed Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, the Islamic Movement is an Arab-Israeli Islamist organization.


Israel has in recent years shut down buildings in Jerusalem operated by Palestinian political factions, such as Orient House and the former headquarters of the PLO in East Jerusalem.


Diskin added that most of the current conflicts in the Holy City stem from expanded Jewish construction of housing units in East Jerusalem.


He said that Palestinian groups are not currently attempting to further the conflict.


“All the groups acting in East Jerusalem, including the Arab residents, are not interested at this stage in a full scale conflict in Jerusalem,” he concluded. 

Related articles: (east jerusalem, fatah, hamas, abbas, islamist, shin bet)

Share with friends Print this page Read later Recommend 0 times