07:14 GMT22 October 2020
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    An Israeli real estate company orchestrated a forgery scheme to steal land from Palestinians for an illegal settlement in the occupied West Bank, an investigation has concluded.

    According to the investigation, 14 out of 15 cases in which land was supposedly purchased from Palestinians were found to be forged transactions, reported Israeli newspaper Haaretz.

    A real estate company run by a pro-settlement activist collaborated with two Palestinian men, who would “buy” land using forged documents purporting to be those of the real landowners – many of whom are no longer alive – and then transfer them to the company.

    One of the Palestinians claimed to have taken part in the scheme because he had troubles with the Palestinian Authority. He said he was promised that he could relocate to Israel, where his family lives, but he has not been allowed to do so.

    The illegal settlement was reportedly formed before the fake purchases were made. The real estate company allegedly responded to government efforts to evacuate the area with claims that it had come to an agreement with the property owners to buy them out legally.

    The real estate company denies the allegations, claiming that all of the deals were done legally.

    forgery, West Bank, Palestine, Israel
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