The Story of Nidal Atari

Abu Haitham

Nidal Atri is the supervisor of real estate transactions in the Coordination and Liaison Administration (DCO) Ramallah. He works part-time in Ramallah and part-time in branches throughout Judea and Samaria.


Atri, spent approximately 60 days in detention in Jericho under difficult conditions and was eventually brought to trial by the PA, released, and immediately arrested once again as he left the courthouse. In 2017, he was detained several times by the Palestinian security forces. On the first occasion, he was abducted from the doorway to his home in the village of Deir Sharrouf, near Nablus.

The reason for the arrest was the suspicion of involvement in the sale of land to Jews and forging real estate transactions, as evidenced by the court, Nidal Atri, and the director of Civil Administration, Uzi Gilo.

According to the state comptroller's report, his arrest was reported to civil administration commanders, but they did not convene a meeting to discuss the arrest of their employee as expected. Moreover, immediately upon his release, he was promoted to be the transaction auditor of all of Judea and Samaria, effectively creating a 'bottleneck' for all real estate transactions handled by the Civil Administration.

The omission shouts out; the State Comptroller pointed out that 'no other party in the Civil Administration or other security agencies examined the expected consequences and the effect of its arrest and the possibility of information leaked to the Palestinian Authority. According to him, there is an indication that senior Civil Administration officials are well aware of the highly sensitive information that is being leaked from civil administration officials to the Palestinian security authorities. The Shin Bet is also conscious of the structural failure of employing Palestinians in sensitive areas. However, the IDF claims in response that there have never been such things.

This response attempts to distort reality since, due to difficulties caused by the PA and its threats to Palestinian land sellers, every transaction between a Palestinian and an Israeli is conducted in several stages. In the first stage, the landowner must issue a permit from the DCO of his ownership. At this stage, his name is already reported to the Palestinian security authorities long before the deal ripens into the transfer of land into Jewish hands.

Even today, Nidal Atri continues to serve in his position in the Civil Administration, and all land transactions are reviewed and followed under his watchful eye. He is exposed to continued exploitation of his role in the Civil Administration and his accessibility to highly sensitive information of the Palestinian security forces. From information that we have received, there is an indication that his bank accounts have been foreclosed by the Palestinian Authority, from the time of his arrest in 2017. A visit to Atri's home in the village of Deir Sharaf indicates that in recent years, Atri's house has been renovated and "upgraded" from a usual residence, to a spectacular building in a large area. This raises suspicions of a large-sized payment by the Palestinian Authority, for providing information from the Civil Administration and the DCO. This does not seem to correlate with his current income as an official in the Civil Administration.

In early October 2021, Atri was detained again by the Palestinian security forces, regarding matters concerning his work as a civil administration transactional auditor. He was taken for questioning in Nablus. After several days of interrogation, Atri required medical attention and was hospitalized for several days in a hospital in Nablus. After that, he was returned to detention in the PA prison. He is still in custody in the PA prison, and his condition is unknown. It is estimated that Atri’s arrest serves to allow the transfer (either voluntarily or with force) of original land files from the Civil Administration offices to the PA, in an attempt to thwart dozens of transactions from taking place. The Palestinians are holding him in order to clear his name in the eyes of his Israeli employers.


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