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Eviction of Palestinian family in East Jerusalem temporarily postponed

The eviction of  a Palestinian family from their home in Sheikh Jarrah, planned for today, has been delayed by two months. 

Two Palestinian children in front of their house in Sheikh Jarrah, February 7, 2010 (photo: Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

The Shamasneh family was slated to be evicted from their home at 2:00 p.m. today, December 31, so that the Israeli Custodian for Absentee Property could take possession of the house. The Jerusalem District Court ordered the eviction to be postponed until March 1, 2013 after the family’s lawyer appealed to Israel’s high court.

Activists and politicians who support the Shamasnehs in their fight to stay in their East Jerusalem home emphasize that this is just a temporary postponement in the eviction, and that the family of 10 is still in danger of losing their house. They also point out that it is just one of many examples of Israel’s lopsided, discriminatory application of the law that is leading to the “Judaization” of East Jerusalem.

In a number of cases, the Israeli Custodian of Absentee Property has handed over Palestinian homes to Jewish settlers after Israeli courts have ruled that the properties in question were owned by Jews prior to the 1948 war. Palestinian refugees who were forced or fled from their homes in the same period, however, are not allowed to sue for the properties in Israeli courts.

The Shamasneh family has lived in their Sheikh Jarrah home since 1964, three years before Israel occupied East Jerusalem. In 1980, Israel unilaterally annexed East Jerusalem, a move that remains unrecognized by the international community.

Speaking yesterday of the Shamasneh’s case, Dr. Saeb Erekat of the Palestine Liberation Organization remarked, “We hold Israel accountable for any consequences to their illegal actions and we call upon the international community to end the culture of impunity for Israel and treating Israel as a state above international law.”

Palestinian family in Sheikh Jarrah days away from eviction
Fact sheet: Israel’s tightening control over Jerusalem
Spotlight: Sheikh Jarrah

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    1. An I correct in reading this piece to mean that there is no actual plaintiff demanding return of their deed, but rather a third party claiming that, at some point, the land was owned by a Jew so should now be returned to a Jewish organization which will dispense it to a Jew? If so, there is no contest at common law, so no case, as no detailed person is present to ask for redress. Instead, this becomes an indirect action by the State to confiscate land of one race for another.

      If you ever want to move beyond the hate of past bombings you have to stop such race defined actions under cover of law. Individual wrong must replace racial wrong as a first step.

      Reply to Comment
      • Joel

        This matter is clearer in some of the related articles: apparently descendants of previous owners are plaintiffs, and the resident family was not able to give sufficient evidence of their tenancy.

        Reply to Comment
        • Palestinian

          Lets assume what you said is true ,can we, the descendants of the Palestinians ethnically cleansed in 1948 ,claim our stolen properties ?

          Reply to Comment
    2. berl

      incredible how selective is the use of law in in the only democracy of the me

      Reply to Comment
    3. ruth

      joel think about to use the same approach with all the pals that were expelled from their homes or left them for few hours. Then add the fact that the owners to which you are referring were not owners of any home but, if true, of groves. There were not houses on the spot at the times of your “owners”

      Reply to Comment
      • Joel

        I wasn’t trying to justify the logic, just to bring in a little more detail to how “Israeli Custodian of Absentee Property has handed over Palestinian homes to Jewish settlers after Israeli courts have ruled that the properties in question were owned by Jews prior to the 1948 war” is legally possible, in contrast with Greg’s and my initial understandings.

        Reply to Comment
        • Rauna

          Joel, It seems that you enjoy this privilege very much. “As the only democracy in ME, the benefit of this Custodian Absentee Property act should also be extended to the Arabs. Don’t you think so?

          Reply to Comment