Settlers Move into E. Jrsl’m Home after Palestinian Family Is Evicted

A Palestinian family was evicted from its home of 53 years in the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah early Tuesday morning, September 5, culminating a protracted legal battle in which Israeli authorities contended that the property belongs to Jewish settlers.

Members of the Shamasna family after having been evicted from their home in Sheikh Jarrah, September 5, 2017

Members of the Shamasna family after having been evicted from their home in Sheikh Jarrah, September 5, 2017 (Photo: Ir Amim)

The expulsion of the Shamasna family marked the first time since 2009 that a Palestinian family was evicted from Sheikh Jarrah. Members of the Shamasna family told journalists that large numbers of Israeli police officers, special units, and intelligence officers stormed the house and forcibly evacuated the family before they started to move their furniture and belongings into a truck.

Israeli settlement watchdog Peace Now reported later Tuesday morning that the settlers were already inside the house, while the Shamasna  family looked on from outside.

Owner of the house Ayyub Shamasna said that an Israeli magistrate’s court, district court, and the Supreme Court have all ruled that the house was a Jewish property. The Shamasna’s appeal against the eviction was partly based on the health of 84-year-old Ayyub, who has lived in the house since 1964 and suffers from several illnesses. According to the appeal, the eviction could adversely affect his health and that of his 75-year-old wife.

Communist MK Dov Khenin (Hadash – Joint List) highlighted that while the settlers can claim ownership of East Jerusalem properties based on the premise that they were owned by Jews before 1948, no such a law exists for the hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees who were displaced from their homes during the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948, and many Palestinians had owned property in West Jerusalem that were never allowed to return.

According to MK Khenin, “The settlers, with the backing of the government, are utilizing a discriminatory law in order to change the status quo and Israelize Palestinian neighborhoods in East Jerusalem. The eviction of the Shamasna family, who resided in the house since 1964, is not only brutal but it is also indicating a dangerous trend that could threaten a future compromise in Jerusalem.”

Israeli rights group Ir Amim has noted that Israeli settler plans have focused on taking control of the entire neighborhood and then demolishing it to establish a massive Jewish settlement, called Shimon HaTzadik — named after the tomb of the biblical figure Simeon the Just, which is believed by Jews to be located in the neighborhood.

On Friday, September 8, there will be a protest march from the old Mashbir building in West Jerusalem to the house of the Shamasna family in Sheikh Jarrah at 2.30 pm. “Come to be heard and raise your voice against this injustice that is about to happen if we don’t stop it ourselves” organizers of the protest have written.


The upcoming demonstration in Facebook: