Protests target illegal sales of stolen Palestinian land

Each stop on the “Great Real Estate Event,” involving touring cities in the U.S. and Canada offering stolen Palestinian land for sale, has been met with mass protests by Palestine solidarity activists who forced some events to shut down. The tour features properties in illegal settlements in the West Bank. My Home in Israel Real Estate asked $495,000 for a luxury apartment and $4,100,000 for a villa.

Protesters outside synagogue where illegal sale of Palestine land is taking place in Teaneck, New Jersey, March 10, 2024. Photo websource: Middle East Eye

While the real estate companies made distinctions between properties in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Haifa — cities in Palestinian territory occupied by Israel in 1948 — and three West Bank settlements — Efrat, Neve Daniel and Maale Adumim — pro-Palestinian demonstrators made no distinction between the West Bank and Israel. In an Instagram post declaring victory when the sales event in Flatbush, Brooklyn, was canceled, Al-Awda stated: “We will continue to SHUT IT DOWN for Palestine and fight for our land until full liberation and return from the river to the sea.”

Just the threat of a protest forced the cancellation of the final event in Brooklyn scheduled for March 13, after four prior events in Montreal and Toronto, Canada; Teaneck, New Jersey; and Lawrence, New York, were met with militant demonstrations. Despite the announced cancellation, hundreds of protesters still gathered in Grand Army Plaza, four miles from the original location, to celebrate their victory in shutting down the event. (People’s Dispatch, March 15)

A few days earlier, at a scheduled property sale in Teaneck on March 10, thousands of demonstrators waving Palestinian flags and chanting “Free Palestine” marched a mile from the Teaneck Armory to the synagogue where the sale was being held.  

Two weeks prior, Jewish activist Rich Siegal complained to a Teaneck Township Council meeting about the sale: “If we allow this sale to go through, we are enabling a local synagogue to violate both domestic anti-discrimination laws and international law. As Jews, we don’t get to fly under the radar and break the law and hide it in the synagogue,” Siegal said. (Mondoweiss, March 13)

In addition to violating laws prohibiting selling properties on occupied Palestinian land, Siegel noted that the event violated domestic laws on fair housing, as real estate events can’t be restricted to whites or Jews only, as the Teaneck sale was.

“There’s a genocide going on right now,” Siegal noted. “More than 35,000 people have been killed. More than 13,000 children have been killed. People in this community are in deep mourning. People in this community are angry. I’m angry. ”

With the sales constituting possible illegal activity, the New Jersey chapters of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) condemned the event and called for a federal probe.

Sales of property illegally occupied in Palestine have been staged for years by companies like the “Great Real Estate Event,” but this year is the first time they have been met with widespread condemnation. It is also noteworthy that since the October 7 Hamas uprising against Israel, around half a million Israelis have left Israel, many returning to homes in the U.S. and Europe. (Middle East Monitor, Dec. 7, 2023)

There has also been a significant drop in migration to Israel. The Times of Israel reports that only 45,000 immigrants moved to Israel in 2023, compared to 73,000 a year earlier. Most were from Ukraine and Russia. (Dec. 28, 2023)

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