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Gideon Levy: Something's Rotten at This Settlement Winery – and We Don't Mean the Grapes



Photo of Psagot wine bottle
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It looks like a scene from Tuscany. A vintage-model sports car and a black SUV are parked in front of a mansion with a stone facade and green roof, nestled among vineyards. The water in the swimming pool glitters in the blazing light. The leaves on the rows of grape vines – planted in exemplary order, and propped up by iron poles – are now brown.
The atmosphere is tranquil atmosphere: A bird chirps, there’s an aura of beauty. But the sight is actually one of the ugliest and repellent sights imaginable. The house, the vineyard, the pool, the high-end cars and the porch with the scenic view – all of this is situated on private property plundered from its owners. And we are not in Tuscany; we are in a crime neighborhood.
This is the estate of Yaakov Berg, CEO of the Psagot winery, in the central West Bank. Berg’s house stands on section 233 of bloc No. 17. This property belongs to two sisters, Amal and Keinat Quran and their cousin, Karima – but they don’t have any access to it. The grapes are planted on sections 219-220, which is owned by Huria Quran, another relative. That petite, elderly woman is also unable to get to her property.

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