Israel’s Supreme Court today offered Palestinian residents of the occupied Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood ‘protected residence’ status, saying that if they pay rent to the settler organisation which claims the land on which their homes are built, their properties will not be demolished. The families have rejected the proposition, objecting to Nahalat Shimon’s claims of ownership and subsequent plans for their forcible eviction, Ir Amim reported.
The hearing took place before a panel of three judges – Yitzhak Amit, Noam Sohlberg and Daphne Barak-Erez, who were ruling on a leave to appeal request submitted by the El-Kurd, Jaouni, Abu Hasna, and Askafi families who are facing eviction from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah by the Nahalat Shimon settler company.
Both sides subsequently presented arguments, and the hearing concluded without the handing down of a court ruling. The justices are expected to issue a decision within the coming days concerning the continuation of proceedings. According to one of the attorneys representing the families, an additional hearing on the matter will likely be scheduled. Originally slated for early May, the hearing was deferred until now to allow for the Attorney General to weigh his intervention in the case, which he ultimately declined.
The court’s decision, in this case, will likely impact the additional families from the Kerem Al-Jaouni section of Sheikh Jarrah facing eviction lawsuits filed by Nahalat Shimon, including the case of the Dajani, Daoudi, and Hammad families, likewise pending at the Supreme Court.
On 28 July, the attorney representing the three aforementioned families submitted a request to postpone their eviction date set for yesterday.
In response, the Supreme Court issued a temporary injunction, provisionally freezing their eviction and asking the settler group to respond by 8 August. While the three families have likewise filed a leave to appeal request to the Supreme Court, neither a hearing has been scheduled, nor a decision rendered.
Currently, there are open eviction lawsuits against a total of approximately 50-60 families in Sheikh Jarrah (30 families – Kerem Al-Jaouni section and 20-30 families – Um Haroun section), which are at various stages of legal proceedings.
Many more families are at risk of receiving eviction demands due to land registration procedures the Israeli authorities underhandedly began in occupied East Jerusalem in 2020 for the first time since 1967.
“Without the public’s knowledge, the authorities have been discreetly registering land rights of properties in Um Haroun to alleged Jewish owners. Such a move is unprecedented and has potential acute ramifications on Palestinian properties not only in Sheikh Jarrah but across East Jerusalem,” Israeli rights group Ir Amim said on its website, “which could ultimately lead to widespread Palestinian dispossession in the city and expansion of Jewish settlement.”