AxisMundi Jerusalem

Inside Israel and the Palestinian Territories

    Related Topics:

  • Iran

Eviction Notice

August 6, 2009

PALESTINIANS-ISRAEL/EVICTIONIn Jerusalem, where political tensions often run high, passions are flaring over the eviction of two Palestinian families in the neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah. Jewish settlers moved into the homes, inside territory Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East war and annexed.

An Israeli settler group said it was reclaiming an area that was previously Jewish-owned (read more here), a position backed by an Israeli court that issued the eviction orders. Palestinians dispute the claim and note that Israeli authorities do not allow them to return to homes from which they fled or were forced to flee in the 1948 MIddle East war.

The evicted families, according to our recent article, “are descendants of refugees who came to the area in 1956, according to the Israeli organisation Ir Amim, which monitors and opposes Jewish settlement in East Jerusalem.”

Israel considers all of its Jerusalem its eternal and united capital, a position that has not won international recognition. Palestinians want to make East Jerusalem the capital of the state they aspire to establish in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Check out this video from Reuters TV, which shows protesters clashing with police in front of one of the houses designated for evication, interviews with an evicted family member and a spokesman for the Yesha council (the settler umbrella group), and footage of the Palestinian families and their furniture being removed.

To get a sense of the range of positions in the Israeli public, these recent editorials from Ha’aretz and the Jerusalem Post are a good start.

“No thinking person will be persuaded that Jews have a sweeping right to return to their homes in East Jerusalem,” says the Ha’aretz editorial, “as long as Israeli law not only bars Palestinians from returning to their homes in West Jerusalem, but even evicts them from the houses where they have lived for the last 60 years. The Israel Lands Administration’s regulations do not even allow Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem to buy land and houses in many parts of the city.”

As for the Jerusalem Post: “In this particular rivalry, we side with the Jewish groups, even if this newspaper is sometimes put-off by the way they see the world, because whatever arrangements may ultimately be negotiated for sharing Jerusalem, mainstream Israelis will insist on unfettered access to Mount Scopus via Sheikh Jarrah. As far as British claims of an “ancient” Arab connection to the area, Nadav Shragai convincingly documents, in the latest “Jerusalem Issue Brief” published by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, that the Jewish connection to what is today Sheikh Jarrah predates the founding of both Christianity and Islam.”

What are your views on the housing evictions in East Jerusalem?

PHOTO:A left-wing Israeli activist is detained by border police officers during a protest in East Jerusalem, August 2, 2009.  REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun.


I have every confidence in the Israeli judiciary. 15 judges in courts all the way to the High Court have been satisfied that the evicted people are illegal squatters.

200,000 Jews and 270,000 Arabs reside in Jerusalem, beyond the 1967 borders. I pray that they will learn to live together in peace and in accordance with civilised law.

I also recall leaders like Hussein, Sharif of Mecca, King of Syria and later King of Iraq, who called on the Arab population in Palestine to welcome the Jews as brothers and to cooperate with them for the common good. His son, the Emir Faisal, signed a treaty with the Zionist movement in February 1919, in which it was taken for granted that western Palestine (west of the Jordan River) was to be a Jewish state.

Regarding the Faisal-Weizmann Agreement, Emir Faisal wrote the following (to Harvard Law School Dean and later US Supreme Court Justice Felix Frankfurter):

We Arabs, especially the educated among us, look with the deepest sympathy on the Zionist movement. …We will do our best, in so far as we are concerned, to help them through: we will wish the Jews a most hearty welcome home. …The Jewish movement is national and not imperialist. Our movement is national and not imperialist, and there is room in Syria for us both. Indeed, I think that neither can be a real success without the other.

If such sentiments can again be openly expressed in the Arab world, and if they can predominate over the hateful legacy of the Haj Amin al-Husseini, and his relative and successor Yasir Arafat, THEN we can revive the hope that the people of the region will live together in peace.


The only independent judiciary in the Middle East has ruled to evict on the basis of the evidence presented. Respect this and acknowledge that if it were Jews being evicted there would be no protest by the left leaning press. A similar situation arising in the Arab world would not have resulted in a court challenge, the eviction would have taken place without a murmur.

Posted by jgreen | Report as abusive

The eviction of the Arab Israelis was not some illegal land grab as much of the press would have us believe. Eviction only took place after due process through the Israeli courts to which all Israeli citizens have unfettered access. The integrity of these courts is at least the equal of any in the world and it has been said that the only place in the Middle East an Arab can get a fair trial is in Israel. If the Court has found the Palestinians to be illegal squatters then this is likely the case according to the evidence notwithstanding the length of time they have been in situ. Jewish Israeli residents of this and any part of Israel are not settlers (with the colonial inferences of such a term) but simply residents taking legal possession of their property.

Posted by David | Report as abusive

Well where are the courts ruling to give land back to Pals in East J’lem? You talk as if this is just purely a basic eviction, this is a family who contested that their family owned this property several decades ago and rent was imposed at that time. What happened to all the Pal homes in west J’lem, the whole of Israel.

There would not have been an eviction if a Jewish family was not declared the owners, many decades back… sorry.

I guess the “right of return” is still on the table, I’ll hold my breath waiting for a Jewish court to rule and evict a Jewish family out of a home any where in Israel proper and give it to an Arab.

Posted by Sean | Report as abusive

so the apartheid continues…., another wonderful day in the “only democracy” in the middle east.que the doves and the rainbow gleaming across the sky. I as an american tax payer, am sick of seeing my tax dollars go to israel for things like this. these illegal settelers are taking land from people who are already marginalized and discriminated against and live in fear of the israelis. no wonder the arabs hate us? can u blame them. we are bank rolling this operation. when there is a world war 3, it will be because of israel and it’ll be us americans who will pay with our money and our lives.

Posted by sidney | Report as abusive

As Rafael Broch notes in yesterday’s Guardian, the families were evicted for failing to pay rent. Hundreds of other Palestinian Arab families live in Jerusalem homes owned by Jews — many of which were similarly “given” to the Arabs by the UN after Jordan ethnically cleansed them of their Jewish inhabitants between 1948 and 1967. These other Arab families have been paying rent and lo and behold, no eviction orders have been issued by the Israel Supreme Court.

The anti-Israel press has been having a field day with this story in a transparent effort to demonize the Jewish state as usual but the truth will out. And again, there is no such city as East Jerusalem except in the minds of those like Erika Solomon who seek to prevent Jews from exercising property rights in a city which has only ever been a Jewish sovereign for over 3,000 years.

Posted by HIS | Report as abusive

The currently disputed Shepard Hotel that is going to be developed for Jews was an undisputed Arab home. After 1967 Israel took it upon itself to take custody of it and sold it.

Will the family of the former Arab owner be able to contest the ownership of the property thus setting up and forced tenent landlord relationship?

I would love to see a biased and not “The only independent judiciary in the Middle East” (pure jewish ignorance there) rule as to who owns the hotel. Sean is correct “this is a family who contested that their family owned this property several decades ago and rent was imposed at that time. What happened to all the Pal homes in west J’lem, the whole of Israel.”

This would not be an evicition if a biased jewish court did not vote, once again (of course) in favor of the Jews.

Posted by Mike | Report as abusive

So sorry Mssrs. Allyn Fisher-Ilan, Dan Williams, Jon Hemming.

Every war ends in a re-arrangement of borders. Only Israel is singled out by your ilk. Nazi Germany was dismembered after WW2, Poland was re-created. Created after WW! was the present day Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt out of the Ottoman Empire. The Austro-Hungarian empire of Austria, Hungary, Roumania et al was dismembered and new countries created with their own capitals.

So sorry again, but every country has the right to name its own capital. Only Israel is singled out.

Your gratuitous remarks are racist and offensive.

Why don’t you demand that New York be given back to the British or Dutch, or better still, the native peoples from whom the entire country was stolen?

Reuters deserves better than your disgraceful re-arrangement of the facts

Posted by historygypsy | Report as abusive

Post Your Comment

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see