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PCHR
Palestinian Centre for Human Rights

PRESS RELEASE

Ref: 79/2005

Date: 06 July 2005

Time: 14:30 GMT

 

Settler Land Scam Results in injury of 11 Palestinian civilians.

Israeli settlers, masquerading as NGO workers, trick Palestinian civilians into signing over land – when the scam was uncovered the settlers ran over 11 Palestinian civilians with their vehicle during an escape attempt.

In an attempt to purchase land from Palestinian civilians under a fraudulent pretext Israeli settlers yesterday, the 5th of July 2005, critically injured 2 Palestinian civilians and injured 9 others when they ran over them with their jeep.

Approximately one week ago Palestinian civilians living in the al Ma’ani area[1] were visited by a man identifying himself as a German national residing in the Netherlands who called himself ‘Volcker Naneen’ (future documents obtained by PCHR identify him as holding German Passport Number 1775139320).  Naneen claimed that he was from a German non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) who would provide money for ‘humanitarian relief’ purposes to al Ma’ani residents.   

He then approached Palestinian residents and gave them some money (US$1000) on condition that they sign a blank piece of paper, providing their Palestinian ID number, printed name and signature.  14 representatives of families from the area signed the paper.

Around 1730 yesterday a white GMC jeep containing three Israeli settlers, as well as an Israeli-Arab lawyer who called himself ‘Esam Hamdan’, came into al Ma’ani, to the east of the Israeli settlement Kfar Darom.  Hamdan claimed to be acting on behalf of Volcker Naneen.  He informed some Palestinian civilians that he would distribute more financial assistance donated by the German NGO.  He then began to distribute the sum of US$1000 for each family.  After giving each person the money he asked them, individually, to sign papers that he produced.  Hamdan claimed that the papers were thank you letters.  14 families signed all the pieces of paper provided by Hamdan.  However, upon being asked to sign the documents one of the Palestinian civilians insisted on reading all the documents.  At this point Hamdan tried to leave and he burst through the crowd of people and got into his jeep with the other Israelis who accompanied him.  The jeep began to move quickly and drove through the crowds of people who were attacking the jeep trying to get back their signed papers.  11 Palestinian civilians were injured by the jeep – 2 of them critically.  However they managed to retrieve 12 of the 14 signed sets of documents.

Significantly, Israeli Occupying Forces (IOF) came to the area and protected the path of the jeep from al Ma’ani to the settlement.  Furthermore, the IOF didn’t allow Palestinian ambulances to access the area to tend to the wounded for more then two hours.  Finally they called Israeli ambulances, an acknowledgment of the serious nature of the injuries.  Israeli ambulances took three of the people – two of them were transferred to a nearby Palestinian Red Crescent Ambulance while the third was transferred to Saroka hospital in Beer She’va, inside Israel.  The other injured civilians were transferred to al Aqsa hospital in Deir al Balah.  The names of the injured are:

  1. Salama Ahmad Salman al Ma’ani, 50, critically injured (transferred to Saroka hospital in Israel);
  2. Ahmad Salama al Ma’ani, 55 (transferred to Deir al Balah);
  3. Jihad Ghranim al Ma’ani, 16;
  4. Ahamd Salama al Ma’ani, 18;
  5. Yahiyaa Ioub Abu Sumra, 57;
  6. Sulieman Imara al Ma’ani, 23;
  7. Alaa Sulieman al Ma’ani, 2;
  8. Ramsey Ahmad al Ma’ani, 30;
  9. Ibrahim Mohammad al Ma’ani, 19;
  10. Hamda Salma al Ma’ani, 19; and
  11. Nadeer Ahmad al Ma’ani, 25.

Shortly after the incident the Israeli police arrived into the area and launched an investigation of the actions of the Palestinian civilians.  Later on that evening, the Israeli army raided the homes of Palestinian civilians in the area searching for the sets of documents.

One of the Palestinians who was injured in the hit and run attack by settlers was Yahiyaa Ioub Abu Sumra.  He was able to keep one set of the papers after the Israeli soldiers burned the other documents and has described the incident in detail and given a copy of the documents in question to PCHR.[2]

The documents which the Arab-Israeli lawyer gave to Palestinian residents consisted of three documents amounting to five pages.  These documents include a contract consisting of the following stipulations:

  1. That the Palestinian civilian is the owner of a certain area of land, that they have no debts and that they agree to sell their land to the named German national and his lawyer, Essam Hamdam, has power of attorney in this matter;

  2. that the seller commits to evacuating their property within one day of the sale;

  3. the buyer will pay US$6900 for the property; and

  4. US$1000 will be paid to the seller upon signature of the contract.

PCHR is shocked by the latest attempt by Israeli settlers (illegally residing the in the Occupied Palestinian Territory) to appropriate land from Palestinian civilians for their own self gain.  PCHR believes that any individual, including foreign nationals, involved in the development or supporting such activities are involved in grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention and should be prosecuted as such.  PCHR demands a thorough and impartial investigation be conducted into this latest attempt to illegally appropriate lands including by the German and Dutch governments into the involvement of a national and resident of their countries respectively. 

 


[1]  Al Ma’ani is sealed Palestinian area since July 2002, populated by approximately 140 civilians, inside the Israeli settlement bloc of Kfar Darom in the central Gaza Strip.  Palestinian civilians inside the al Ma’ani area remain subject to extraordinarily restrictions on their freedom of movement, preventing all vehicular movement and imposing very limited opening hours on the only checkpoint in and out of the area.  UNOCHA reports that access for international organisations into the area remains problematic – this means that individuals could only have entered the area with the consent of the Israeli army.

[2] A copy of this document is on file at PCHR and is available upon request.

 

 

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