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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Shocker: Israel's 'Supreme Court' enforces Jewish property rights in 'east' Jerusalem

Israel's 'Supreme Court' has issued an important ruling that recognizes the property rights of Jews in the Western half of the Shimon HaTzadik (Sheikh Jarrah) neighborhood, located just east of the former 1949 armistice line. The result, according to Haaretz, is that hundreds of 'Palestinians' may be evicted from the Jewish-owned homes in which they have been living rent-free for the past 62 years.
Sheikh Jarrah has been a bone of contention between Jewish groups - who call the neighborhood Shimon Hatzadik after the ancient rabbi they believe is buried there - and Palestinians living there. Tensions have risen over the last year as the court has allowed Jewish groups to reclaim homes they said they were forced to leave after 1948, thereby allowing them to evict Palestinian families in favor of Jewish ones.

To date the struggle had focused on the eastern part of the neighborhood. Three families have thus far been evicted from the area and 25 more are under threat of eviction.


Following the Six-Day War, the custodian general took over the homes and the properties in the area. Over the years the custodian general restored some of the properties to the legal Jewish owners. Other properties were bought by groups that identify themselves with the settlers - either directly by the custodian general or by the inheritors.

Among those owning property in the neighborhood is American businessman Irwin Moskowitz, who is considered an important patron of settlement activity.

Yithzak Memo, another right-wing activist involved in settlement in the western portion of the neighborhood, also bought property in the area.

King says that right-wing groups own about half the homes in the neighborhood.

In 1997 Palestinians sued, arguing that the property on which Jews settled in the 19th century had not been sold to them but leased and that the ownership remained Palestinian. In 2006 the Jerusalem District Court rejected the suit and they appealed to the Supreme Court.

Sunday the Supreme Court rejected their appeal and ruled that Jews are the owners of the homes. The ruling, written by Danziger, states that the Palestinians failed to prove the terms of the lease between the original owners and the Jews who lived in the neighborhood.

Evidence that payments for the lease were made were rejected by the court as constituting evidence that the Jews did not buy the property.

The legal significance of the ruling is that the status of the Palestinians living in the eastern portion of the neighborhood is now the same as that of those living in the western side - subletting Jewish owned property.

Sources familiar with the issue say that henceforth it will be easier for settler groups to evict Palestinians from the area.
Awesome news!


At 7:05 AM, Blogger NormanF said...

What the Israel Supreme Court's decision means is Jews can now freely buy up property on the east side, which is important in preventing the future re-division of Jerusalem.

Khaled Abu Toameh of the Jerusalem Post wrote a good article on the views of Arabs living there and the prospects of a re-division don't look very good. It wouldn't fly in a referendum.

Now its time to create more "facts on the ground" to prevent wavering politicians like Ehud K. Olmert from ever giving away the store in the future.


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