Occupied Palestinian lands are not for sale, says Alabbar

Responds to criticism over recent visit to occupied Palestine

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By  Eudore Chand Published  March 5, 2005

Emaar chairman Mohammed Alabbar has dismissed media claims that Emaar plans to buy settlements in occupied Palestine as “inaccurate”. He also clarified that during his recent visit to occupied Palestinian territories, he did not meet with the Israeli Premier. “The alleged offer to purchase the settlements is inaccurate,” said an Emaar statement, adding that Alabbar denied meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon. “I am firm on the position that these settlements are built on Palestinian lands. Hence, buying or selling these lands would be in contradiction with international law,” said Alabbar in response to criticism over his recent visit. “My visit to the Palestinian territories — which was a personal one — comes within the framework of visits conducted by the aid and humanitarian visits by Emarati and Arab organisations. Its purpose was to assess, first hand, the needs of the Palestinian people and examine the situation on the ground and thus find the best way to extend support to the Palestinian people. “My visit was also within the framework of international economic forums that I participate in, and in line with my ongoing personal co-operation with such organisations to extend support to the Palestinian cause.” The Emaar chairman added that the visit was a result of the need to extend a helping hand to the Palestinian people who have been suffering from Israeli occupation for past five decades. “I found a profound desire amongst my Palestinian brothers to maintain the assets that are built on these settlements, instead of having them demolished by the Israeli forces upon their expected withdrawal. “Together, we held the view that the Palestinian people could benefit from those assets, rather than having to spend five to six years constructing replacement assets,” the Emaar Properties chairman was quoted as saying. Alabbar said that the companies he works for are all professional organisations with robust and transparent systems that do not allow for any one individual to make decisions. “This is true for Emaar, which is considered one of the most professional and largest property development companies in the Middle East,” he added. He reaffirmed his opposition to any form of normalisation with Israel, until a just and comprehensive peace is achieved for the Palestinian and Arab nations. “I am committed to the Palestinian cause, which is in line with the declared position of the UAE which continuously calls for ending the Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands, and for the return of all occupied lands to the Palestinian people. Alabbar recently visited the area and announced the formation of a subsidiary Emaar Palestine (Issue 61).

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