court adjourns appeal against Sheikh Jarrah’s deportations

court adjourns appeal against Sheikh Jarrah’s deportations

Israel’s Supreme Court has adjourned the appeal of four Palestinian families against their forcible eviction from Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in occupied East Jerusalem, as the families say they rejected a court proposal asking them to remain as “protected tenants But recognize Israeli ownership.
The cases examined on Monday involved four Palestinian families, a total of around 70 people.

Israeli lower courts approved the evictions of the four families to make way for Jewish settlers. They decided that their homes were built on land owned by Jews before Israel was established in 1948.

But weighing the residents as a last resort, the court suggested a deal that would give them the status of “protected tenants” who would recognize Israeli ownership of the houses and pay a nominal annual rent, but they refused.

Judge Isaac Amit asked for additional documents and said, “We will issue a decision later”, but did not set a date.

Al Jazeera’s Hoda Abdel-Hamid, reporting from the West Jerusalem court, said the judge offered Palestinian families the opportunity to sign a document declaring that the land belonged to Jewish settlers.

“In return, they guaranteed the rent for this house for the next three generations,” Abdel-Hamid said.

Palestinian resident of Sheikh Jarrah, Nabeel al-Kurd, center, arrives for hearing on possible forced evictions of Palestinian families at the Supreme Court in Jerusalem [Maya Alleruzzo/AP]

“They put a lot of pressure on us to come to an agreement with the Israeli settlers in which we would rent to settler organizations,” said Muhammad al-Kurd, one of the four Palestinian families at the heart of the affair.

“Of course this is rejected,” he said.

Sami Ershied, a lawyer representing Palestinian families, also told Al Jazeera that the proposal was unacceptable.

“So far, we have not heard an offer that is fair enough and protects the rights of residents. Therefore, we did not reach any compromise, ”said Ershied.

Still, he said the hearing was “a good step forward”.

“The judges have indicated that they will invite us for a second hearing. They have not yet rejected our appeal; that’s a good indication, ”he said.

“We hope that the judges will continue to listen to our arguments and take into consideration all the new details that we have submitted and that at the end of the day, will find in favor of the people of Sheikh Jarrah,” he said. .

Ershied added that the court will decide the date of the next hearing and it could be in a few weeks or months.

Long legal battle

The Supreme Court was due to render a decision in May, but it delayed its decision after the attorney general asked for more time to review the cases.

Threats of eviction fueled protests which met with severe repression from Israeli security forces in April and May and are a test for Israel’s new governing coalition, which includes three pro-settlement parties and a small one. party representing the Palestinian citizens of Israel. For the sake of unity, the government has tried to put Palestinian issues aside to avoid internal divisions.

Weeks of unrest – underscored by brutal Israeli police tactics against residents and the protesters who supported them – drew international attention ahead of Israel’s 11-day bombardment of the besieged Gaza Strip in May.

A ceasefire went into effect on May 21, but the long-standing campaign by Jewish settlers to evict dozens of Palestinian families continued.

The settlers waged a decades-long campaign to evict families from densely populated Palestinian neighborhoods just outside the Old City walls in one of the most sensitive parts of occupied East Jerusalem.

The settlers claimed that the houses are built on land that belonged to Jews before the 1948 war surrounding the creation of Israel. Israeli law allows Jews to reclaim such property, a right denied to Palestinians who lost land and homes in the same conflict.

Jordan controlled East Jerusalem from 1948 to 1967. The families, who became refugees during the 1948 war, said the Jordanian authorities offered them their homes in exchange for relinquishing their refugee status.

Israel occupied East Jerusalem, along with the West Bank and Gaza, in 1967 and annexed it in a move unrecognized internationally. The two-state solution presented by the 1993 Oslo Accords envisioned the three regions as part of a Palestinian state.

In 1972, settler groups told families they were encroaching on Jewish-owned land. It was the start of a long legal battle that has culminated in recent months with deportation orders against 36 families in Sheikh Jarrah and two other neighborhoods in occupied East Jerusalem.

Rights groups have said other families are also vulnerable, estimating that more than 1,000 Palestinians are at risk of deportation.

“Whatever the judge’s decision for the settlers and Palestinian families, it will set the tone for what happens next,” Abdel-Hamid said.


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