Dutch Christians Fund Settlement

A Protestant evangelical group here created an uproar this week by announcing it is financing a temporary settlement for Jewish immigrants on the southern outskirts of Jerusalem, on what some believe is “occupied territory.”

The organization, Christians for Israel, said it hopes to raise $5 million to establish a settlement of caravans that would house immigrants from the former Soviet Union and Ethiopia for about two years.

The site is between the Talpiyot and Gilo neighborhoods, bordering on the Arab village of Beit Safafa.

Group spokesman Peter Hovestadt denied the area is occupied territory. The group’s television station broadcast an interview with Jerusalem Mayor Teddy Kollek, who corroborated the denial.

But Dutch television correspondent Eddo Rosenthal claimed last Saturday night that the settlement was indeed on occupied land, and other journalists made similar statements.

Jacob Kohnstamm, a center-left member of Parliament, submitted questions on the subject to Foreign Minister Hans van den Broek. Inasmuch as van den Broek is abroad, his reply was not expected for several days.

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