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Arabs to File for Compensation Despite Opposition by Leaders

Most Arab residents of East Jerusalem are expected to file claims for their lost property under an absentee property compensation bill now before the Knesset, despite exhortations against the measure by local Arab leaders. Claims for Arab property abandoned in Israel will be admitted as soon as the Knesset approves the measure which passed its first reading this week. The cost to Israel has been estimated unofficially at between $100-$300 million.

East Jerusalem residents were reluctant to comment publicly on the bill. The reaction of the local Arab leadership, however, was to reject it out of hand as a political move intended to gain Arab recognition of Israel’s sovereignty over East Jerusalem. One Arab leader told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency today that anybody who accepts compensation “is a traitor.”

East Jerusalemites need the money, however, and are expected to overlook the political implications of accepting the Israeli offer. The most serious complaint seems to be against the form of compensation. While claims of up to IL 10,000 will be paid in cash, most of the claims will exceed that sum and will be compensated for with four percent State of Israel Bonds.

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