The Supreme Court of Israel has dismissed the appeal of four Palestinian families against their forced expulsion from the occupied Sheikh Jarrah district in East Jerusalem, as the families say they have rejected a court proposal for them to stay as they are. and “protected tenants” but recognize Israeli property.
The cases examined on Monday were implicated four Palestinian families, numbering a total of about 70 people.
Lower Israeli courts have approved the expulsion of the four families to make way for Jewish settlers. They say that their houses were built on Jewish land before Israel was established in 1948.
But weighing in on a recent appeal by residents, the court suggested an agreement that would give them the status of “protected tenants” who would recognize Israeli ownership of the houses and pay a symbolic annual rent, but were refused.
Judge Isaac Amit asked for further documentation and said “we will publish a decision later,” but without setting a date.
Hoda Abdel-Hamid of Al Jazeera, reported by the West Jerusalem court, said the judge offered Palestinian families the option to sign a document saying the land belongs to Jewish settlers.
“Instead, they have guaranteed rent in that house for the next three generations,” Abdel-Hamid said.
“They put a lot of pressure on us to reach an agreement with the Israeli settlers in which we will be hired by the settler organizations,” said Muhammad el-Kurd, of one of the four Palestinian families in the heart of the case:
“Of course this is denied,” he said.
Sami Ershied, a lawyer representing Palestinian families, also told Al Jazeera that the proposal was unacceptable.
“Until now, we have not heard of an offer that was fair enough and preserves the rights of the residents. So, we have not reached any compromise, ”Ershied said.
However, he said the audition was “a good step forward”.
“The judges have indicated that they will invite us to a second hearing. They did not even reject our appeal; it’s a good indication, ”he said.
“We hope that the judges will continue to listen to our arguments and take into account all the new details we have presented and, at the end of the day, conclude in favor of the residents of Sheikh Jarrah,” he said.
Ershied added that the court will decide when to plan the next hearing, and that it could be held in a week or months.
Long legal battle
The Supreme Court was scheduled to issue a ruling in May, but delayed its decision after the attorney general asked for more time to examine the cases.
U threatened expulsions fueled protests that met with harsh repression by Israeli security forces in April and May and put a test to the new Israeli governing coalition, which includes three pro-settlement parties and a small party representing Palestinian citizens of Israel . By the end of the unit, the government had tried to rule out Palestinian problems to avoid internal divisions.
Weeks of unrest – highlighted by the heavy tactics of the Israeli police against residents and protesters who supported them – have caught international attention ahead of the 11-day Israeli bombing of the besieged Gaza Strip in May.
A ceasefire went into effect on May 21, but the long campaign by Jewish settlers to evict dozens of Palestinian families has continued.
Settlers have campaigned for decades to evict families from densely populated Palestinian neighborhoods just outside the walls of the Old City, in one of the most sensitive areas of occupied East Jerusalem.
The settlers claimed that the houses were built on land that was owned by Jews before the 1948 war surrounding the creation of Israel. Israeli law allows Jews to recover such property, a right denied to Palestinians who have lost land and homes in the same conflict.
Jordan controlled East Jerusalem from 1948 to 1967. The families, who were refugees during the 1948 war, said Jordanian authorities offered them their homes in exchange for renouncing their refugee status.
Israel occupied East Jerusalem, along with the West Bank and Gaza, in 1967 and annexed it in an internationally unrecognized move. The two-state solution presented by the Oslo Accords of 1993 envisages the three zones as part of a Palestinian state.
In 1972, groups of settlers told families they were transgressing Jewish-owned lands. It was the beginning of a long legal battle that in recent months has culminated in eviction orders against 36 families in Sheikh Jarrah and two other neighborhoods in occupied East Jerusalem.
Rights groups say other families are also vulnerable, estimating that more than 1,000 Palestinians are at risk of being displaced.
“Whatever the rule of the court for Palestinian settlers and families will set the tone for what happens next,” Abdel-Hamid said.