Jerusalem24 – The Israeli High Court ruled on Tuesday that four Palestinian families in the flashpoint East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah will not be evicted until the Justice Ministry settles their claims to the property.
According to the left-wing Ir Amim nonprofit, some 300 Palestinians are currently under threat of eviction in Sheikh Jarrah, mostly in private cases filed by right-wing Jewish groups. The case involving these four families could set a precedent for other proceedings making their way through the courts, experts say.
For decades, courts have held that Nahalat Shimon, the Jewish organization seeking to evict the four families, was the rightful owner of the land. The Palestinians claimed the Jordanians had been in the process of issuing their deeds to the property before Israel conquered East Jerusalem in 1967.
In an unprecedented move, the High Court ruled that the Palestinians could not be evicted unless the Justice Ministry examined the Palestinians’ claim to the homes. The Justice Ministry is responsible for sorting out land registration and issuing titles to property but has effectively frozen the process in much of East Jerusalem, citing political and logistical difficulties.
In the meantime, the Palestinian families will deposit a symbolic amount of rent — NIS 2,400 ($740) per year — in a bank account belonging to both sides’ lawyers. If the Justice Ministry rules against them, the funds will be transferred to Nahalat Shimon.