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News > World

Israeli Court Freezes Arafat Property in East Jerusalem

  • Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat

    Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat | Photo: Reuters

Published 23 January 2019

The court said any future request to lift the order would be given a fresh court hearing and that the Arafat estate had 30 days to appeal.

An Israeli court has seized a Jerusalem property partly owned by late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, holding it as collateral against a civil suit for damages against the Palestinian Authority.

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A copy of the ruling by the Jerusalem district court made available to AFP on Wednesday named "the estate of the late Yasser Arafat" as respondent.

"A temporary lien is granted on property owned by the respondent," said Tuesday's judgment.

Israeli NGO Shurat Hadin requested the lien so the Arafat asset in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem could serve as collateral for a pending civil claim for damages against the Palestinian Authority (PA), the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) and the Arafat estate, by eight Israeli families who claim to have been victims of Palestinian attacks.

Arafat, who led both the PA and the PLO, died aged 75 in a French hospital on November 11, 2004, with Palestinians accusing Israel of having poisoned him. The Israeli government denies the allegation.

His body was exhumed in 2012 for tests but a subsequent French investigation filed the case, saying it found no proof of poisoning.

Swiss experts, however, said they found high levels of radioactive polonium on his personal effects.

Arafat's nephew, Nasser al-Qudwa, said on Wednesday that the Jerusalem court ruling was "unacceptable." Qudwa told a news conference in the West Bank city of Ramallah that Arafat and his brothers owned only a small part of the property placed under lien. He said the ruling was the work of "raiders and thieves." 

The property in question covers about 2,700 square meters on the Mount of Olives, overlooking Jerusalem's walled Old City and its Al-Aqsa mosque complex.

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