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Palestinian family evicted from Jerusalem home to make room for settlers

The Abu Assab family home, located in Jerusalem’s Old City, is expected to be occupied by right-wing Jewish Israeli settlers. Nearly 200 Palestinian families in East Jerusalem are under threat of eviction by settler organizations.

By Aviv Tatarsky

Members of the Abu Saab family seen after being evicted from their home by Israeli police in Jerusalem's Old City, February 17, 2019. (Activestills.org)

Members of the Abu Assab family seen after being evicted from their home by Israeli police in Jerusalem’s Old City, February 17, 2019. (Activestills.org)

Israeli police evicted a Palestinian family from their home in the Muslim Quarter of Jerusalem’s Old City Sunday morning. The home is expected to be occupied by right-wing Jewish Israeli settlers in the near future.

The Abu Assab family had lived in the home for nearly 70 years. Seven members of the family, including a four-year-old child, were evicted on Sunday, with police arresting two other family members. They will now be forced to find a new place to live.

The Abu Assab family originally lived in the Baka neighborhood West Jerusalem, from which they were expelled by Israeli forces during the 1948 war. In the 1950s, the government of Jordan, which controlled the West Bank and East Jerusalem at the time, settled the family in a home in the Old City, which had been owned by Jews before the war.

After the 1967 war, when Israel occupied and illegally annexed East Jerusalem, the family continued to live in the home as protected tenants. Five years ago, a settler organization initiated eviction proceedings against the family, and an Israeli court ultimately ordered their eviction.

Under a 1970 Israeli law, Israeli Jews are allowed to sue to reclaim properties they owned in East Jerusalem that they were forced to abandon in 1948. Palestinians who owned properties in West Jerusalem and Israel who fled in 1948, however, have no legal avenue for reclaiming those properties — even if they live in Israeli-controlled territory today.



Thus, while the original Jewish owners, or in this case their settler proxies, were allowed seek the Abu Assab family’s eviction from their home, the Abu Assab family was unable to ask the same court to allow it to return to its original home in West Jerusalem.

Police have evicted a number of other Palestinian families from the exact same street, Aqbat al-Khaldia, using the same legal mechanisms. Other families are still battling eviction attempts in Israeli courts.

In the coming weeks around 40 members of the Sabag family are expected to be evicted from their home in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem, while another 70 Palestinian families in the neighborhood are facing eviction proceedings. In total, Jewish settler organizations are working to evict some 200 families in Sheikh Jarrah, the Muslim Quarter of the Old City, and Batan al-Hilwe.

An Israeli settler surveys the Abu Saab family home, after police evict the family, Jerusalem's Old City, February 17, 2019. (Activestills.org)

An Israeli settler surveys the Abu Assab family home, after police evict the family, Jerusalem’s Old City, February 17, 2019. (Activestills.org)

When Jewish settlers move into Palestinian neighborhoods, they almost always bring with them armed guards to stand guard on their rooftops and outside their doors, a dynamic that has a detrimental influence on entire neighborhoods. Day to day life is disrupted, with residents facing pressure seemingly designed to push them out of their homes.

Israeli authorities have various ways of abetting that effort, from the law allowing only Jews to reclaim property, to funding private security guards for the settlers who move in to their properties, to funding tourism initiatives that strengthen the image of those settlements vis-à-vis the Israeli and international public.

Aviv Tatarsky is a researcher for Ir Amim, an Israeli NGO that works for an equitable Jerusalem. This post was originally published in Hebrew on Local Call. Read it here.

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    1. UnimpressedRealist

      Then these same monsters have the gall to lecture the world about Shoah. When they are just as repulsive as the fascists that came before them. Name the cruelty and they have done it or wish to do it. They were raised by blackened hearts and corrupted minds to continue the work of persecuting a people hcrime was being born to the wrong mother.

      Reply to Comment
    2. diana

      Might I ask if there’s an organization that keeps in touch with the evicted families? Is there a way to help or know their whereabouts?

      Reply to Comment
    3. J.L.Seagull

      Thank you for this detailed and responsible report. So they were expelled once, and now are expelled again. Israel covers over ethnic cleansing in layers of legalism.

      Reply to Comment
    4. This is another illustration of Israel’s disregard for humanity and of International Law – total lack of concern for the citizens who inhabited the West Bank. It is also demonstrates the Western Governments’ failure to question Israel’s barbarity in the Occupied Territories – using armaments supplied to Israel by them.

      Reply to Comment
    5. Firentis

      So the squatters are getting evicted? Is that what this brouhaha is all about?

      Reply to Comment
      • Tom

        The “squatters” you’re talking about, has been lived in thoses houses they have built (for most of them in Sheikh Jarrah) area since 70 years, after beeing deported during the war. Have some respect please

        Reply to Comment
        • Ben

          Fascists of a racialist kind see respect for the humanity and human rights of those outside their in-group (in this case Jews), or respect for anything but raw power, as a form of weakness and betrayal of the in-group. I could point to any number of posts of this person that evince a sneering disdain for those without raw power and a sneering disdain for any solution but a final absolute surrender and submission of the out-group. And he is not an isolated crank. Which is why outside pressure will be needed. Fanatics do not change their behavior by themselves or because you ask them to be nice.

          Reply to Comment
    6. gandolf

      Under a 1970 Israeli law, Israeli Jews are allowed to sue to reclaim properties they owned in East Jerusalem that they were forced to abandon in 1948. Palestinians who owned properties in West Jerusalem and Israel who fled in 1948, however, have no legal avenue for reclaiming those properties — even if they live in Israeli-controlled territory today.

      makes sense to me . all you have to do is open a history book

      Reply to Comment
    7. Jay

      So it’s legal for Jordan, led by a literal Nazi who personally met with Hitler, to invade and wipe out a majority jewish population that had been there for over a century… but it’s an “illegal occupation” when those same people return not even 20 years later?

      By your logic every colonization and genocide in history is justified and legal, and every resistance by the indigenous population illegal.

      Reply to Comment
    8. Ben

      What have here is a coarse, sloppy outbreak of professed incomprehension, aka playing dumb, by the “Jerusalem is all ours, cuz, like, were Jews, and Jews rule, got it?” brigade (Firentis, Gandolf & Jay, Inc.) In the Bitan, Hazan & Smotrich mode.

      Remember this next time the likes of Firentis tries to tell you that Israel has made “generous offers” and the Palestinians “refused” them. What the likes of Firentis want is complete surrender to triumphalist, racist Judeosupremacism. It could not be plainer from their responses here.

      The apparatus Israel has in place to further the agenda of Firentis, Gandolf & Jay, Inc. is well-explained by Jeff Halper on his Matrix of Control page. Get the facts:

      Reply to Comment
      • Ben

        And anyone who wants confirmation of this, or still harbors illusions that this process is not firmly in control of the Israeli settlers and that the aim all along has not been ethnic cleansing and that Israel still wants a viable two state (or one state) solution and intends to act with anything like rudimentary human decency, needs to read things like this:

        For Six Months, These Palestinian Villages Had Running Water. Israel Put a Stop to It
        For six months, Palestinian villagers living on West Bank land that Israel deems a closed firing range saw their dream of running water come true. Then the Civil Administration put an end to it.

        Reply to Comment
      • Ben

        And Jay’s propaganda talking point about Amin al-Husseini is effectively dealt with here by Ilan Pappe, who I think holds his own very well against the Israeli propaganda talking points recitations by those around him in this debate that took place in Australia in 2012. It’s worth watching all the way through.

        Reply to Comment
    9. Barry Rosen (@BarryRosen1)

      972mag is lying again with Soros money to promote Pallywood.
      Before posting about such a case, 972mag should at least google the family name and fact check. They were evicted because the home was stolen from Jews in 1948. Only recently could Jews sue to get private property back, a right Arabs have long had in Israeli courts.

      Reply to Comment
      • Ben

        Barry, this starts out with a risible “Pallywood” reference (gives yourself away as a completely non-serious person right at the start) and then descends into a mix of frank dishonesty and unreality and falls apart altogether. +972 Magazine/Local Call has local writers on the ground who know what they are talking about. They always have. In fact they kind of specialize in debunking just the kind of hasbaroid mix of untruths you are purveying here.

        Reply to Comment