Police arrested three suspects on Monday who are allegedly involved in a scheme to buy lands in the West Bank using forged documents and without the consent of the Palestinian land owners. Police suspects at least ten deals worth millions of shekels were made using forged documents, with settlers from the Ulpana neighborhood, Migron, Amona and Givat Asaf taking over the land after the deals were finalized.
An investigation was launched following petitions that were filed to the Supreme Court against some of the deal, which claimed tha lands were sold to an NGO operating in the West Bank without the consent of the Palestinian land owners.
The suspects allegedly used the forged documents to create the false impression the land owners have agreed to the sale.While the case is still ongoing in court, State Prosecutor Shai Nitzan asked the head of Police Investigations and Intelligence Department to open an investigation into the case.
Following a covert investigation of the Lahav 443 Unit (an Israeli equivalent to the FBI) and the Judea and Samaria District Police, the police on Monday raided the offices of the three suspects and seized documents and computers.
The three suspects were allegedly involved in transferring ownership of lands from their Palestinian owners to the Al-Watan NGO, a part of the Amana Settlement Movement, which buys lands in the West Bank for the construction of Jewish settlements.
The NGO was given an Arab name to keep the Palestinian land owners remain oblivious to the fact they were selling their lands to Jews, particularly since the Palestinian Authority has threatened to sentence to death anyone who sells lands to Jews. For this reason, the deal is made through Arab straw men, when the buyer himself is not always aware of the fact he’s buying the land for Jews.
The three suspects – a Jewish lawyer, an Arab lawyer and an Arab realtor – are all from Jerusalem. The remand of one of the suspects was extended in four days, the remand of another was extended in two days and the third suspect was sent to a five-day house arrest. Police said it might make additional arrests.