IMECM&Agencies 17 February, 2005 – 11:37
An Israeli economical expert revealed that several international companies have plans to control Palestinian lands which Israel plans to withdraw from in the Gaza Strip after implementing the unilateral disengagement plan.
Could this possibly mean Mohammed al-Alabbar, A billionaire from the United Arab Emirates, who has offered to buy the real estate assets of settlements in the Gaza Strip?
Al-Alabbar, the chairman of a huge real estate company, was invited by Israeli Knesset Member Ephraim Sneh (Labor) and the two met with the director general of the Israeli Prime minister office Ilan Cohen, and then paid a short visit to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. Al-Alabbar offered to purchase the houses, agricultural infrastructure as well as water wells in the Gush Katif settlements for $56 million. Israel likes this idea, because it means they needn’t leave the houses for Palestinians to occupy, (which Israel sees as a demonstration of Palestinian victory, nor must they destroy them. They are in effect, not abandoning stolen lands, they are being paid to evacuate several thousand families from territories which are costly to maintain.
Omar Sha’ban, UNRWA consultant stated that after Sharon announced his withdrawal plan from the Gaza Strip, several huge companies in cooperation with local businessmen started plans of organized control over the properties and lands in the evacuated settlements, while the P.A is busy in the political and security issues.
“Settlements occupy 56 square km, and are placed over artesian wells, there are 12 factories and 2000 homes in the settlements in addition to a huge hotel, tourist beach, advanced telecommunication systems, and agricultural fields estimated by 166000, including 4000 agricultural barracks”, Sha’ban stated.
Also, Sha’ban said that an American governmental organization said that it is currently negotiating with the Israel government to by agricultural barracks in the settlements with an estimated value of 56 million dollars.
“This organization intends to search for international companies in order to guarantee that the products of the settlements are sold to specialized Israeli companies in order to exports their products”
Sha’ban added that the Palestinian Authority does not have a formal position concerning the withdrawal, and lacks a comprehensive plan concerning the properties of the settlements which makes it easier for international companies to cease the opportunity and control these areas.