Dec 02, 2021

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On Thursday, Ad Kan, a non-profit organization that exposes and investigates anti-Israel organizations as well as the activities of the Palestinian Authority and the European Union in Area C, announced the results of its recent investigation revealing that the Palestinian Authority intelligence service was deeply entrenched in Israel’s Defense Ministry’s Civil Administration in Judea and Samaria.

Their investigation focused on Nidal al-Atari, a Palestinian who works for Israel’s Defense Ministry. His job for the Israeli Civil Administration is to inspect all the real-estate transactions that take place in Judea and Samaria. Al Atari works under the supervision of Civil Administration Justice and Land Registration Staff Officer Tomer Carmi, whose authorization is required for any such transaction.

About two weeks ago, Al Atari requested permission from Carmi to take home confidential files concerning approximately 30 real-estate transactions. Carmi permitted this despite it being in violation of protocol. The files concerned properties purchased by Jews from Palestinians. 

The next day, Al Atari, who lives in Samaria near Shechem (Nablus) was arrested by the PA security forces in Jericho and has not returned to work.

It should be noted that as per PA law, it is a capital offense for its citizens to sell property to Jews punishable by death. As such, it is complicated and exorbitantly expensive for Jews to buy land in Judea and Samaria from Arabs with inordinate effort being expended to preserve the anonymity of the sellers. 

Also, no copies, digital or otherwise, exist of the files that Al Atari removed from the Land Registration’s office. Without these files, those involved in the transactions have no proof of ownership. 

In a statement, the office of the Coordinator for Government Activities in the Territories Maj. Gen. Ghasan Alyan said: “The subject is still under review by professionals in the Civil Administration, with the relevant officials in the Palestinian Authority. The employee is not involved in transactions involving Israelis, therefore there are no concerns information on land sales to Israelis could be leaked.

This marks the second time Al Atari,  one of the most senior Palestinian employees of the Israeli Civil Administration in Judea and Samaria, has been abducted by the PA security forces. The first time took place four years ago when he was held in a secret location for four months and tortured so severely that he required medical treatment and was hospitalized in a hospital in Shechem while remaining under arrest. 

This first arrest was discussed at length in Israel’s State Comptroller’s report from the summer of 2020. The report cited the Shin Bet which warned that employing a Palestinian without security clearance in such a sensitive position could result in leaked confidential and sensitive information from the Defense Ministry to the Palestinian security services.

Despite the warning and the proof that Al Atari had given sensitive information to the PA security forces, the Civil Administration promoted him.

A report on Channel 13 by Tzvi Yehezkeli outlined the increasing control by the PA over the operations of the Israeli civil administration in Judea and Samaria. Yehezkeli brought testimonies from Palestinians who had been arrested and tortured as a result of information leaked by Al Atari.

The Civil Administration was established in 1981 to be the civilian arm of the Israeli government in Judea, Samaria, and the Gaza Strip. In 1995, pursuant to the Oslo Accords, almost all the functions of the Civil Administration were transferred to the newly established PA. The Civil Administration’s authority was limited to being the intermediary between Israel and the PA. The Civil Administration has been ineffective in preventing the Palestinians from building tens of thousands of illegal structures in Area C. 

Ad Kan reported that there are other Palestinians under the control of the Palestinian security forces that are in similar positions in the Israeli civil administration of Judea and Samaria. Ad Kan Director-General Gilad Ach concluded his group’s report with the statement:

“The negligence of the Civil Administration has spiraled out of control. The confiscation of sensitive Civil Administration documents by the Palestinian Preventive Security marks a new low in the dysfunction of the Civil Administration. The fact that the staff officer of the real estate department in the Civil Administration allows a Palestinian employee to transfer confidential information to Area A (under full PA control – DI) in violation of the law shows the arrogance of the administration’s employees, their contempt for the State Comptroller’s report, the lives of Palestinian sellers, and the right to property of Jews.”

“It’s time for someone to pay for this,” Ach continued. “The arrest of the chief supervisor of lands in the Civil Administration by the PA shows that that Palestinian Preventive Security completely controls the Palestinian Civil Administration employees. Civil Administration employees—who work for the Israeli Defense Ministry of Defense in such a sensitive position—cannot be controlled by the PA. The handling of land registration must be expropriated from the Civil Administration at once in order to stop the madness of torture and murder under the auspices of the PA.”

Ad Kan is a right-wing, Israeli activist non-profit organization known for infiltrating Israeli left-wing organizations, as well as other forms of protest against organizations that it perceives as anti-Israel.  Ad Kan then passes the collected information and evidence to the Israeli authorities or to the media.

In 2015, Ad Kan activists went undercover in the left-wing anti-Israel NGOs Ta’ayush and Betselem where they filmed Ezra Nawi, a Jewish “human rights activist.” The Ad Kan video showed Nawi bragging that he had identified Palestinian land brokers willing to sell land to Israeli or Jewish brokers to the PA security services. In the recording, Nawi relates how Palestinian property dealers mistook him for a Jew looking to purchase land, and says, “Straight away I give their pictures and phone numbers to the Preventive Security Force. The Palestinian Authority catches them and kills them. But before it kills them, they get beat up a lot.”