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Jews, Palestinians Argue Over Home

February 17, 1999

JERUSALEM (AP) _ Jewish seminary students moved into an Arab neighborhood of east Jerusalem Wednesday, sparking an angry ownership debate with Palestinians there.

Israeli lawmaker Benny Elon, along with several members of his right-wing Moledet group, claimed that they legally purchased the house in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood from its Arab owner.

``When you buy you have rights ... and those rights cost us a lot of money,″ Elon told Israel Radio.

Palestinian residents said that the owner, Abdallah Issa, vacated the house overnight and they had no idea of his whereabouts. In response, Israeli police sealed the run-down, one-story house until they could confirm the validity of the ownership documents, said police spokeswoman Linda Menuhin.

Israel captured east Jerusalem, home to thousands of Palestinians, from Jordan in the 1967 Mideast War and later annexed it. But the Palestinians want the sector as the capital of a hoped-for state.

The home is the fourth property Elon’s group has acquired in the neighborhood.

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