P.L.O. Evicted From Washington Office

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P.L.O. Evicted From Washington Office

Gewirz Foundation 990

Without any bloodshed, Yasser Arafat's Palestine Liberation Organization was just ousted from an occupied territory, as it were. The group was evicted this week from its Washington headquarters for nonpayment of rent, according to these documents filed in D.C.'s Superior Court. In January, the P.L.O.'s landlord filed a lawsuit seeking $18,520.92 in back rent, late charges, and attorneys fees (the group was behind two months on the $8145.54 rent for its K Street office). In one pleading, a P.L.O lawyer noted that because of the "political and military situation in Palestine, and the Israeli authority withholding of approximately $450 million belonging to the State of Palestine," Arafat's group had "difficulty in making monthly payments." That argument, alas, didn't wash with the court, and a "writ of restitution" was entered, legally returning the office space to the landlord's control (the P.L.O. vacated its digs this week). Court records show that this was the second time in less than a year that the P.L.O was sued for back rent. Last July, the group was hit with a complaint seeking $18,187.87, though that beef was settled before an eviction notice was served. P.L.O. representative Hassan Abdel Rahman told Reuters there was "a political motivation" behind the group's eviction. "The owners and management is a very pro-Israeli group. There is a military campaign against the Palestinians in the West Bank and there is a diplomatic isolate the P.L.O., and this is part of it." This conspiracy theory, no doubt, is fueled by the fact that Bernard Gewirz, one of the principals in the real estate firm which owns the K Street property, is a well-known philanthropist whose charitable foundation regularly donates money to a variety of Jewish causes (as this excerpt from the organization's most recent tax return shows). (7 pages)

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