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Jerusalem District Court issues lien on property belonging to Yasser Arafat

The court gave the order on behalf of terror victims who filed a civil-damages lawsuit against the Palestinian Authority and Arafat’s estate.

PLO leader leader Yasser Arafat. Credit: World Economic Forum.
PLO leader leader Yasser Arafat. Credit: World Economic Forum.

The Jerusalem District Court issued on Tuesday a tentative lien for a plot of land in Jerusalem belonging to the property of former Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

The court gave the order at the behest of terrorism victims who filed a civil-damages lawsuit against the Palestinian Authority and Arafat’s estate.

The plaintiffs, consisting of eight families of terror victims, are represented by attorneys Moshe Segal and Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, president of Shurat HaDin-The Israel Law Center. They said that if they win the lawsuit, it will be hard to get the restitution from the property, and therefore also requested to issue the lien on the estate so they can gather their damages.

A lien is a right to have possession of property belonging to another party until a debt owed by that party is paid off.

The land involved is a 0.675 acre plot, mostly located inside the cemetery on the Mount of Olives, inherited by Arafat. His estate owns less than 0.5 percent of the area, which has not been split up among its many owners. Nonetheless, the judge ruled it was legally possible to enact a temporary hold on the entire property.

“The defendant is not blessed with many exposed assets,” states the suit. “As opposed to an ordinary defendant, whose assets can be exposed in various registries, official databases or through a routine investigative procedure, the assets of the defendant are not registered in open databases accessible to the plaintiffs. They are registered, if at all, in the registries of the Palestinian Authority that the plaintiffs have no access to, in its territory, and their location is also in areas that it is doubtful that the plaintiffs have the possibility of reaching.”

Darshan-Leitner said that not giving a lien on an asset “known to belong to the defendant, or which he could receive in the future, which is known to be located in Israel and which is known to the plaintiffs, will seriously harm the plaintiffs and will serve to prevent the implementation of their court ruling.”

The Palestinian Authority said it will appeal the ruling.

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