Central Florida's Independent Jewish Voice

Israel gives UNRWA 30 days to evacuate Jerusalem facility

(JNS) — The Israel Land Authority notified the U.N. relief agency UNRWA that it must immediately vacate state land and buildings in northern Jerusalem, which it had occupied illegally.

The Israel Land Authority is also demanding retroactive compensation of $27 million shekels (~$7 million) for the years the United Nations Relief and Works Agency used the land. 

Yitzchak Goldknopf, minister of construction and housing, announced the decision on Wednesday afternoon, at the annual meeting of the Israel Bar Association in Eilat.

In a letter sent Wednesday to UNRWA’s leadership, the ILA said: “According to our inspection and the information we have, you are occupying and holding without the consent of the Israel Land Authority, a division of land in an area of ​​approximately 36 dunams [3.6 hectares, or 8.9 acres] located in the Ma’alot Dafna neighborhood in Jerusalem.

“There are buildings on the land that were built without a legal permit,” the letter continued. 

“You are hereby required to immediately stop any unlawful use, destroy everything you have built in violation of any law, vacate the land of any person and/or object and return the land to the authority, and this within 30 days from the date of this letter,” the Israel Land Authority said.

The agency’s Jerusalem headquarters is in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, north of the Old City.

Zionist NGO Im Tirtzu, which has protested for months outside UNRWA’s Jerusalem offices, celebrated the move. “We are excited to learn that the public pressure has borne fruit. Kudos to Minister Goldknopf for his determination,” the group said in a statement.


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