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The Israeli Police,

the Bukharians,
and the New Settlement
in Ras al Amud

Questions and Answers

Prepared by Lara Friedman and Daniel Seidemann


Q: What is the property in question and
who does it belong to?

Answer:

• At issue is a piece of property in Ras al Amud, located across the street from the
Ma’ale Zeitim settlement (founded by Irving Moskowitz and inhabited by hardline
right-wing settlers).

• The property originally belonged to the Bukharian Jewish community, which bought it
during the Ottoman period of control in Jerusalem (around 1917). It was later
expropriated as State Land by the Jordanians.

• When Israel gained control over East Jerusalem in 1967, all Jordanian State Land,
including this piece of property, became Israeli State Land. Title to the land was
registered in the State’s name in 1970.

• For decades, the site has been used by Israel as the Headquarters of the Israeli Police
responsible for the West Bank.

• In 1998, the Bukharian community filed suit to establish its claim to the property.

• That suit was settled when the State agreed to compensate the Bukharians for the
property.

• The settlement, which was accepted by the Bukharians, did not call for or
recognize and right to restitution of the property to the Bukharians, and thus the
property was and remains State Land. The settlement reached by the parties was
granted the validity of a Judgment by the Jerusalem District Court.


Q: Are the Israeli Police aware of this court
agreement to compensate the Bukharians
(but not to hand over the property)?
Answer:
Yes. The key element of the agreement between the State and the Bukharians is
documented, explicitly, in the subsequent (and highly questionable) agreement
between the Police and the Bukharians – the agreement under which the Police
promise to give the property to the Bukharians in exchange for the Bukharians building
(or having built for them) a new police station in E1.

The section reads:

"Whereas the Bukharian Endowment filed suit against the State in the Jerusalem
District Court regarding expropriation of the land in civil file #1748-98, and in the
framework of that suit, the parties reached a settlement which received the
validity of a court verdict dated September 17, 2000, whereby the State
undertook to compensate the Bukharian Endowment in the amount of 373,078
Israel Lire, valued as of the 23rd of August 1968, herein after "the settlement
agreement" but this settlement agreement was never fulfilled..."
The original text of the agreement between the Police and the Bukharians (a copy of the original Hebrew-language
document) can be viewed and downloaded at: http://www.esnips.com/web/RasalAmuddocuments/
Q: Has any Israeli Court ordered that the land
be returned to the Bukharians?

Answer:

No.

Moreover, it is not clear that the Police have the authority to turn over State Land to
the Bukharians without special approval.
Q: Do we know what the Bukharians plan to
do with the property once they have control
of it?
Answer:
• We have a good idea.
• On April 3, 2008, the Bukharian Endowment submitted a plan to the Jerusalem
Municipality for a new neighborhood to be built on Ras al Amud site.
• The plan calls calls for the establishment of a new Jewish residential neighborhood in
Ras Al Amud, to be called “Ma’ale David.” The plan states clearly that Ma’ale David will
be an expansion of the existing Ras al Amud settlement of Ma’ale Zeitim

This excerpt from page 2 of the plan submitted by the Bukharians to the Municipality
reads:
"Explanation of the plan:  The compound proposed is located in the city of Jerusalem
to the south of the Jericho Road in the Mount of Olives.  The designated is planned as
a residential neighborhood integrated into the fabric of existing residences in the
area and as a continuation of the adjacent neighborhood of Ma'ale Zeitim.  The
planned neighborhood enjoys maximum exposure to the landscape and a feeling of
community..."
The original text of the agreement Ma’ale David plan (a copy of the original Hebrew-language document) can be viewed
Q: What is the
significance of a new
Jewish settlement in this
area?
Answer:

This new settlement will massively expand


the existing Jewish settlement in the heart of
this Palestinian neighborhood.

This new settlement will send a signal to


Palestinians that Israel is not serious about
ever coming to an agreement over the future
of even Palestinian neighborhoods of
Jerusalem.

This new settlement will give the settlers


complete control over the entrance to Ras al Map of the planned
Amud (the only main road) and over a key settlement of Ma’ale David,
“choke point” on the Jerusalem-Jericho road.
adjacent to – and an
expansion of – the
Q: Can you prove that the right-wing settlers
are behind this project?

Answer:

We do not have proof – in the form of “smoking gun” contracts or wire transfers of
funds, for example – that the Bukharians and the settlers are acting together in this
matter.
Q: Do you have strong reason to believe that
the right-wing settlers are behind this
project?

Answer:

Yes.

• In March 2006, the El Eizariyah Municipality and Ir Amim filed suit to the Israeli Supreme Court,
contesting the construction of the new police station in E-1. While not relating directly to the Ras
el Amud station, the suit specifically charged the Bukharian Endowment with fronting for the
settlers, with the full cooperation of the State. Both the State and the Bukharian Endowment
submitted substantive briefs to the Court – but neither denied the plaintiffs’ allegations concerning
the Bukharians’ connection to the settlers.
• The Bukharians themselves have never shown any interest in settling in East Jerusalem and are
not ideologically aligned with the right-wing settlers; it is thus hard to believe that the Bukharians
are suddenly eager to build a new neighborhood for their own community, in the heart of East
Jerusalem, connected to the settlers.
• It is also hard to believe that the Bukharians would shell out what was estimated as around $10
million in order to get the property (this was the cost estimated in the press for the new police
station), and it is highly unlikely they had the means to do so, even if they wished to.
• However, it is completely conceivable that the settlers would be willing and able to fund this and
more in order to gain control of what for them is a prime site.
• In addition, there is what has been said on the record about the plans….
Q: What has been said on the record about
settler plans for the Police Station site in Ras
Answer:
al Amud?
Israelis Act to Encircle East Jerusalem,  Enclaves in Arab Areas, Illegal Building Projects Seen Intended to Consolidate Control 
By John Ward Anderson, Washington Post Foreign Service
Monday, February 7, 2005; Page A15 

“...Daniel Luria, a spokesman for Ateret Cohanim, one of the most prominent private groups involved in moving Jews into Arab 
neighborhoods in East Jerusalem, said a main focus of his organization was returning Jews to property their ancestors had abandoned during 
Arab riots in the 1920s and '30s. 

“...Effie Eitam, a leader of the pro­settlement National Religious Party who was housing minister from March 2003 until last June, said the 
government was a full participant in the campaign to encircle Jerusalem, key parts of which he claimed to have initiated. "It's all done under 
the eye of the state," he said.

...Eitam, the former housing minister, said he initiated the plan to move the police force to Maleh Adumim and free its building in 
Ras el­Amud for Jewish housing. 

"It's not a coincidence ­­ it's a state that moves a police station," he said. "It's all done above the table, even if there are private 
investors and private people who might buy the [existing] police station or build apartments there.“

Eitam recently moved into a five­story, 51­unit apartment compound across the street from the Ras el­Amud police headquarters. The 
Maaleh Hazeitim (Olive Heights) complex, which is expected to grow to 119 units, was developed by Ateret Cohanim and sits adjacent to 
the famous Mount of Olives Jewish cemetery. Together, the apartment building, cemetery and police station straddle the old road to Jericho, 
a West Bank city about 14 miles east of Jerusalem.

Rabbi David Nisanov, the head of the Bukharan Jewish community of Jerusalem, which owns the police station and the three acres 
surrounding it, said he was negotiating to sell the property to the apartment complex's developers once the police relocate.  When 
the Judea and Samaria police move out, Eitam said, "the state will have to think about what will be the alternative function of the 
building, and I see no reason why the state would not allow more Jews to live there. I accelerated the process, and I think it's very 
legitimate.”
http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp­dyn/A3263­2005Feb6?language=printer
Q: If it turns out that it is NOT the settlers, is
this project non-controversial?

Answer:

NO.

If the settlers are involved, then this project:


• Is a NEW SETTLEMENT.
• It is in the heart of a densely-populated Palestinian neighborhood, and given the location
of Ma’aleh Zeitim. across the street, the settlers will totally control the main entrance to
Ras el Amud.
• It will be inhabited by hardline ideologically-motivated Israelis associated with Ateret
Cohanim.
• It will massively expand the presence of hardline right-wing settlers in this area.
• It will add a huge new complication to any future settlement in Jerusalem.
• It will undermine current peace efforts by sending a clear signal to Palestinians that Israel
is not serious about coming to a compromise even over Palestinian neighborhoods in East
Jerusalem.

If the settlers are NOT involved, then this project:


• Is a NEW SETTLEMENT.
• It is in the heart of a densely-populated Palestinian neighborhood.
• It will be inhabited by religious Jews with messianic aspirations who apparently are
becoming sufficiently ideologically motivated to choose to move into this controversial
area and align themselves with the existing hardline settlers.
• It will massively expand the presence of hardline right-wing settlers in this area.
• It will add a huge new complication to any future settlement in Jerusalem.
• It will undermine current peace efforts by sending a clear signal to Palestinians that Israel