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Fatah leader: PA interest in Jerusalem real estate declined after Arafat

Fatah leader Hatem Abdel Qader said the Palestinian Authority's interest in purchasing real estate put on sale in the occupied city of Jerusalem had "declined" after the death of Yasser Arafat.

"The Palestinian Authority had created a special fund to buy Palestinian properties in Jerusalem. These properties were registered under the Ministry of Awqaf [religious endowments]. However, after Arafat's death, the fund was stopped and the authority's interest real estate put on sale declined in Jerusalem," he told Quds Press.

Abdel Qader called for the revival of the fund or to create an alternative Arab fund to buy Jerusalem properties so that they do not go to Jewish owners directly or indirectly.

"Since 1967 until today, no more than 80 houses out of 6,000 were sold to Jewish owners," Abdel Qader said. "But in recent years, these incidents have started to rise, and this is due to two reasons: first, the weakness of Palestinian control inside Jerusalem and second, the Israeli security services' prosecution of Palestinian activists."

READ: Fatah delegation leaves Egypt after reconciliation talks

In a related context, Abdel Qader slammed US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman's request to the Palestinian Authority release a man accused of purchasing real estate in occupied Jerusalem on behalf of Israeli sources and described it as "a blatant interference in Palestinian internal affairs".

On Wednesday Friedman called on the Palestinian Authority to immediately release Issam Aqel, a Palestinian with US citizenship, accused of selling Palestinian real estate to Israeli settlers in the occupied city of Jerusalem.

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