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Settlers build synagogue on Palestinian land, bill owner

After petitioning court to have illegal structure removed from his land, Abdul al-Jaabari receives NIS 88,200 property tax bill

Tamar Pileggi is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

A Palestinian farmer uses a handplow and a horse to work on his vinyard in the West Bank near the Jewish settlement of Efrat, on May 8, 2013. (Photo credit: Gershon Elinson/Flash90)
A Palestinian farmer uses a handplow and a horse to work on his vinyard in the West Bank near the Jewish settlement of Efrat, on May 8, 2013. (Photo credit: Gershon Elinson/Flash90)

Kiryat Arba, an Israeli settlement on the outskirts of Hebron, billed a Palestinian citizen NIS 88,000 ($22,000) in property taxes after he petitioned an Israeli court to demolish a synagogue illegally built on his land.

Last April, Abdul-Karim al-Jaabari petitioned the High Court of Justice to have the makeshift synagogue demolished.

In its response, the settlement argued that since the property in question was not on Kiryat Arba’s land, it was not the under the jurisdiction of the court.

In August, the court determined that the synagogue had been built on private property, and ordered it removed.

In its ruling, the court countered the settlement’s claim, and said that Jaabari’s property was under the jurisdiction of the Kiryat Arba Council and therefore the High Court’s as well.

This week, Jaabari received a property tax bill for NIS 88,200 from the Kiryat Arba Council.

In the letter, the settlement cited the High Court’s finding that his property was under the jurisdiction of the settlement, and therefore was eligible to be taxed.

The bill also included a provision that if the bill went unpaid, his property would be seized and sold.

Al-Jaabari told Palestinian media that the unprecedented move was an attempt to force his family off their property.

The Kiryat Arba Council said it would comment on the incident later this week.

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