Jpost Arab-Israeli Conflict
After eight years with no evictions in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, the Shamasneh family was forced out of their home early Tuesday morning.
Police entered the Shamasneh home at around 7 a.m., accompanied by three right-wing activists who were sent to occupy the house.
Earlier this week the family received an injunction saying there is at least another week until the eviction, but were told that it was annulled overnight by the Bailiff’s Office court during a hearing that the family was not told about until the morning.
The Jerusalem Post received a Bailiff’s Office document that was sent to the Shamasneh family lawyer on Monday, saying that the injunction is cancelled, and reprimanding him for not stating all the legal procedures that were in process when the injunction was filed.
During the eviction family members shouted, “This is the face of the occupation. This is the [way of the] racist government.”
However, the eviction was conducted in a peaceful way by both police and the family. Friends, neighbors and activists gathered near the house throughout the morning, holding signs “enough with the occupation” and “Jews and Arabs refuse to be enemies.”
At some point, an activist spay-painted the locked door of the house and wrote the word “thieves” in three languages – Arabic, Hebrew and English.
After the eviction, Mohammad Shamasneh tried to break into the house through the roof, but was stopped by the police. The police told Shamasneh that he will be arrested if he tries to enter the house again.
There are eight people in the Shamasneh family, including an elderly handicapped 84-year-old man and a 75-year old woman.
The Shamasneh family has lived in it’s Sheikh Jarrah home since 1964. The property the house is on used to be owned by a Jewish family prior to the 1948 war, when they were forced to leave to west Jerusalem.
With the mediation of the right-wing organization The Israel Land Fund, run by Jerusalem city councilman Arieh King, the property was reclaimed in an effort to expand the Jewish settlement in Sheikh Jarrah.
In 2013, the Supreme Court issued a peremptory (final) ruling saying that the Shamasneh family needs to leave its home.
Last month the Bailiff’s Office issued an eviction order following a request by representatives of the owner of the house. The order stated that the eviction will carried out by September 9th.
These types of evictions happen in cases where Arabs live in properties that were owned by Jews prior to 1948. The Jews were forced out when Jordan seized eastern Jerusalem.
Under Jordanian rule, these properties were under the jurisdiction of the Jordanian Custodian of Enemy Property.
Since 1967, however, these properties are under the jurisdiction of the Administrator General and Official Receiver. Under Israeli law, Jews who can prove ownership of properties in east Jerusalem can claim them back.
For now, there are six Jewish homes in Sheikh Jarrah (including Shamasneh’s house), and it was reported that there are dozens of other homes that are under the threat of eviction – mainly in the sub-neighborhood of Umm Haroun, where the Shamasneh house it located.
Eyal Raz, a leading activist who is close to the Shamasneh family, told the Post that this day marks the beginning of a wide-range campaign to kick Palestinians out of their homes and house Jews instead.
“Today they have thrown three generations to the street – grandmother and grandfather, two parents and their four children,” said Raz. “In their place they put three settlers, who have no connection whatsoever to the legal inheritors [of the property].
“The settlers started today a wide-range operation to empty Umm Haroun of its Palestinian inhabitants. They sent extremist settlers here, whose goal is to occupy,” Raz added.
Former Attorney-General Michael Ben-Yair, who grew up in Umm Haorun, attended the gathering outside the Shamasneh home.
Ben-Yair has said that the government should expropriate disputed properties in Sheikh Jarrah and give them to the Palestinians living in them. He said that he intends to claim ownership of his family’s property and give it to the family living there now.