Ankara has given the Palestinian Authority (PA) a copy of the Ottoman archives in order to undermine Israel’s claim on the land, Israel Hayom reported.
The archive includes dozens of land registry documents for land around the Ottoman Empire, which ruled Israel between 1516-1917. Lawyers from the PA are already using the materials in the archive, in order to undermine Israel’s claim on land around Israel, and especially in Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria.
According to Israel Hayom, the first complete copy of the archive was delivered to the “Palestinian” representatives in Ankara. In March 2019, part of it was transferred to Bethlehem. The Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center documented this, as well as the transfer of the entire archive. But for some reason – even though the PA received a tool that could shake up Israel’s entire real estate market – this story went “under the radar” and nothing happened.
A key player at the Bethlehem ceremony was Yousef Adais, the PA official in charge of endowments, who received the files related to the Waqf’s properties in Bethlehem and Jerusalem.
Now, lawyers from Jerusalem’s Arab neighborhoods are regularly turning to the archive in order to locate information. These documents aid them in the legal battles they wage over the claims to many properties, mostly in the Jerusalem area. One of the clearest examples of this is the properties and plots of land in the Old City, which are being fought over by Jews and Arabs.
The most well-known of these is the Western Wall plaza, where a Mughrabi neighborhood once was, and which Israel evacuated in order to create a plaza for prayer. This is land that Israel expropriated, and it is not likely to be legally removed from its hands, but the propaganda involved in presenting these documents may place Israel in embarrassing situations.
Judge Musa Shakarneh, chairman of the PA’s Lands Authority, has been handling registry of land in the Judea and Samaria and Jerusalem registries, with the aid, among other things, of Turkey and its Ottoman-era archives. In an interview with Wafa, Shakarneh explained that the land registration of Arabs who live abroad are helping him implement the “right of return.”