Jerusalem24 – Today, Tuesday, the Palestinian families in Sheikh Jarrah rejected a Supreme Court deal that would see them stay on as protected tenants, while staving off the threat of being forcibly displaced from their homes.
The position was announced by a statement read by Muna Elkurd, and was later published online via social media. In the statement, the families said that the compromise the Israeli supreme court offered, “prepares the way for our right to the land to be taken away.”
The Israeli settler group Nahalat Shimon seeks to evict the Palestinian residents, who live in homes built on land they claimed was owned by Jews before 1948. Nahalat Shimon avowedly seeks to expand the Jewish enclave in Sheikh Jarrah as much as possible and “Judaize” the neighborhood.
The planned evictions in Sheikh Jarrah were a key flashpoint in the escalation to the 11-day May conflict between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
The UN says the laws guiding who has the right to property in Jerusalem are “applied in an inherently discriminatory manner, based solely on the nationality or origin of the owner”.
But the Israeli government says it is entitled to build in the city it considers its capital – and the evictions are private property matters to be resolved by landlord and tenant.
Notable examples highlight the competing claims.
The Shepherd Hotel, in Sheikh Jarrah, for example, was declared an “absentee property” under Israeli law and the title moved to an Israeli company and later bought by an American millionaire who razed the building to make way for a settlement.
There are about 3,000 settlers in predominantly Palestinian neighborhoods in East Jerusalem – almost all in and around the Old City in places such as Sheikh Jarrah, Peace Now, an Israeli non-governmental organization, says.
And since the start of 2020, the local magistrates’ court has ordered the removal of 36 families from Batan Al-Hawa and Sheikh Jarrah, which is currently the subject of appeal.
Across the city, the UN estimates, at least 970 Palestinians are at risk of forced removal due to cases brought before Israeli courts.