An Israeli fraud investigation into the “purchases” of real estate in the occupied West Bank for the construction of an illegal settlement has concluded that 14 out of 15 cases in which land was supposedly purchased from Palestinians were fake transactions involving forgery.
A pair of Palestinians confessed to working for the settlement group to pretend to be various land-owners, forging signatures of bills of sale and pretending to take the purchase prices, in cash, before returning the cash immediately to the group’s lawyer.
One of the Palestinians claimed to have taken the job because of problems with the Palestinian Authority, and promises that he would be able to relocate to Israel, where the rest of his family lives. He has not been allowed to do so so far.
The illegal settlement was actually formed before the fake purchases were made, and the settlement group responded to government efforts to evacuate the area with claims they’d come to an agreement with the land’s owners to buy them legally. This happened several times, and it seems virtually all of them involved explicit forgery.
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