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Israeli settlers get Jerusalem property bargains

Diaa Hadid Associated Press
Israeli settlers get Jerusalem property bargains - Israel - property market

A string of Israeli governments has helped cement the Jewish presence in Arab areas of Jerusalem by selling or leasing property to settler groups at bargain prices, court documents released Sunday show.

The establishment of these Jewish enclaves appears meant to make partition of Jerusalem along ethnic lines - generally seen as a key aspect of any future peace deal - exceedingly difficult.

Buildings were sold to settler groups in and around the sensitive Old City of Jerusalem at a fraction of the going market rates by governments that were involved in peace talks with the Palestinians, who claim those same areas. Sharing Jerusalem is one of the touchiest issues facing Mideast negotiations.

The Old City is divided into four quarters - Muslim, Jewish, Christian and Armenian. In 1948, during the war that followed Israel's creation, Jordan captured the Old City and expelled its Jews. Israel took the Old City back in the 1967 Mideast war, annexed it and re-established the Jewish Quarter, where today about 4,000 Jews live alongside about 30,000 Palestinians in the rest of the old areas.


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