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Palestinians Mount Drive to Block Jewish Settlement in East Jerusalem

Palestinian activist Faisal Husseini warned of trouble Wednesday if Jewish incursions into Arab neighborhoods in East Jerusalem continue.

He disclosed that the Palestine Liberation Organization is coordinating efforts to block further Jewish settlement in that part of the city.

Husseini called a news conference on the issue in connection with the Jewish takeover of houses in Silwan village, an Arab enclave within Jerusalem’s municipal boundaries. He warned that the issue “could threaten the peace talks” between Israeli and Arab delegations now in progress in Washington.

Palestinians in the territories will not be idle in the face of growing Jewish settlement efforts, especially in Silwan, Husseini said.

Earlier this week, he announced that a news body was being formed on behalf of the PLO to publicize the names of Arabs who sell property to Jews, to discourage others from doing so.

Jewish settlers took over buildings in Silwan on Oct. 9, claiming to have purchased them. Despite a warning by Attorney General Yosef Harish that their presence would pose security problems for all of Jerusalem, the Cabinet announced Sunday that if they could prove legal ownership, they could remain.

Jewish sources said last week that “Arabs were standing in line to sell properties at high prices and then leave the country.”

Husseini said a means of discouraging such sales is to raise funds to build new houses for Arab residents and renovate old ones. The owners would then have less incentive to sell to Jews.

He insisted at his news conference that so far all anti-settlement activities have been absolutely legal.

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