Bill Introduced to Compensate East Jerusalem Arabs for Property

The Knesset was presented today with a bill to compensate East Jerusalem Arabs for property they lost in Israel. Justice Minister Yaacov Shimshon Shapiro who submitted the measure, said it was a stepping stone toward compensation for all Arab refugees once a peace settlement is reached.

The bill is actually an amendment to the absentee property law which applies to Arabs living within the pre-1967 Israeli borders and those who may become residents of Israel in the future. Claims of up to IL 10,000 would be paid in cash. The bulk of the claims, which are expected to be in excess of that amount, will be honored in the form of four percent State of Israel bonds. According to unofficial estimates, Israel will have to pay between $100-$300 million under the amended law. The formula for calculating the value of abandoned Arab property in Israel is one devised by the United Nations during the 1950s. It takes account of the property tax as assessments during the final years of the British Mandate in Palestine.

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