Ruling on Sheikh Jarrah evictions postponed
August 3, 2021 - Israel’s Supreme Court has failed to reach a final decision on the eviction of four Palestinian families from East Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood, where Israeli settlers claim ownership of the land.
The Supreme Court hearing was to decide whether to evict the Iskafi, Kurd, Jaanoi and Qassem families -- consisting of 30 adults and ten children -- from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah. Currently, 38 Palestinian families are living in the district.
One proposal was for the Palestinian families to recognize Israeli ownership while they stay put as protected tenants. The families’ lawyer, Sami Irshaid, said that proposal was unacceptable.
Sheikh Jarrah’s residents are overwhelmingly Palestinian, but Israeli settlers have moved into the area, which houses the tomb of an ancient Jewish high priest, Simon the Just.
The families claim the Jordanian government granted them ownership of their homes when it was in control of East Jerusalem from 1949 until Israel captured East Jerusalem in 1967. Israel then passed a law allowing Jews whose families were evicted by Jordanian or British authorities in the city before 1967 to reclaim their property if existing residents could not provide proof of purchase or legal transfer of title.
The judges have been trying to find a compromise that would defuse tensions over the case that helped trigger 11 days of intense fighting between Israel and Gaza’s ruling Hamas militant group in May.
Since the beginning of 2020, Israeli courts have ordered the eviction of 13 Palestinian families in Sheikh Jarrah.