Israel cancels plans to close West Bank shopping centre


Ramallah : The Israeli military cancelled Thursday an earlier decision to shut down the West Bank’s largest shopping centre, located in the northern city of Nablus, its owners said.

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The shopping centre known as Nablus Mall was built four years ago through the cooperation of several Palestinian companies and entrepreneurs and most of its 80 shops and business offices were either sold or leased.

Some of the major shareholders in the mall kept for themselves a number of offices, from where they run their businesses.

One of the company owners, who declined to be named and whose assets Israel was after, said it would start legal proceedings to cancel the seizure order.

He said the company, which has over 1,400 shareholders, the majority of them small investors but nine major investors, owns a small number of the shops and businesses in the mall.

He said that if Israel went ahead with its steps against it, this should not affect the remaining shops and offices in the building.

Israel says the owners have links to the radical Islamic Hamas movement. It closed down the mall as part of a campaign against Hamas’ sources of income in the West Bank, charging the movement uses donations and the income of charities and businesses to also finance its armed wing, which has carried out scores of attacks against Israelis.