A family in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Beit Hanina has now joined the story of the families in Sheikh Jarrah, evicted from their home with the same legal tactics, in order to make way for a new Jewish settlement.
By Moriel Rothman
Beit Hanina – Wednesday morning, a Palestinian family of 11, the Natche family, was evicted from their home in Beit Hanina (Hebrew report). The legal process behind the eviction was launched by Aryeh King, the head of a group known as “The Israel Lands Fund.” Their claim to the property was based, like in the cases in Sheikh Jarrah, on land deeds held by Jews before 1948.
Last month, King and his group posted a notice looking for “strong men” to carry out this eviction. According to the notice, if the police did not carry out the eviction, “the Jews will do without the police.” In the end, “the Jews” (note: as a religious Jew myself, I am incensed by King’s collective language) did not have to do it themselves, and the police carried out the eviction.
Beit Hanina is a neighborhood in the north of East Jerusalem. Unlike the neighborhoods closer to the Old City, like Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan, Beit Hanina has not been an epicenter of conflict between the settlers/state and the Palestinians. However, King and his Israel Lands Fund are looking to change that. According to a notice in the media in Hebrew, King and his group are planning a series of evictions in Beit Hanina, which they are calling “Nof Shimon,” as well as in Sheikh Jarrah, which they call “Shimon HaTzadik.”
The eviction itself was carried out early Wednesday morning by the police, who detained or arrested all of the male members of the Natche family, leaving only the mother, who is pregnant, and her daughters to watch as a rented moving company loaded all of the family’s belongings onto a truck and drove off. The settlers are expected to move into the Natche house as early as Wednesday evening.
Moriel Rothman is an American-Israeli currently living in Jerusalem and active with Rabbis for Human Rights and the Solidarity Movement.