Israeli settlers sought to tax Palestinians for a synagogue built on their own land, Haaretz newspaper reported Wednesday.
The settler local council for Kiryat Arba sent the $45,770 bill to Palestinian brothers Abdul Karim and Zaidan Jabari “after they had petitioned the High Court of Justice asking that the authorities remove from their land a structure built illegally by Kiryat Arba settlers.”
In response to a petition by the landowners, the state announced that Kiryat Arba has no authority to demand municipal tax from the Palestinians.
The state’s response was “based on the military’s orders for managing local and regional councils.” The state cited a 2004 ruling that these orders are part of “military command legislation that applies only to residents of Jewish communities.”
The state said it was clear that “there was never any intent to grant Israeli local governments in Judea and Samaria authority regarding Palestinian residents or Palestinian properties.”
According to Haaretz, Kiryat Arba’s Givat Ha’avot neighbourhood “sits next to the petitioners’ land, and in early 2003 a synagogue called Hazon David was put up on their land.”
Although the synagogue has been repeatedly demolished by the Israeli authorities, there is currently “a tent serving as a synagogue” in addition to “a shed”, both located on the Palestinians’ land.