Following a protracted and contentious legal battle that reached the Supreme Court and culminated in a mass hunger strike, 20 families from the Tel Aviv neighborhood of Givat Amal were forcibly evicted from their homes by police Wednesday. Accompanied by the Special Patrol Unit, dozens of officers arrived at the disputed community early in the morning to enforce the court-sanctioned evictions of the family members, some of whom refused to vacate their homes.
Since 1947, three generations belonging to more than 100 families have inhabited the modest Palestinian village-turned-neighborhood without ever acquiring legal ownership rights. The conflict over rightful ownership came to a head when Yitzhak Tshuva – a well known Israeli capitalist who owns a large part of Israel’s natural gas reservoirs – bought the land in Givat Amal from the government in 1987 to transform it into a high-end residential complex.
MK Dov Khenin (Hadash), who was appointed by the Interior Committee of the Knesset to help Givat Amal residents and submitted a bill to provide them new homes, came out against the forced evacuation without alternative housing so close to Rosh Hashana. “In a place where massive luxury buildings are going to be built, there is no justification to not allow the neighborhood’s residents a meager roof over their heads,” he said. While visiting families in Givat Amal as they were being evacuated, MK Khenin said Tshuva was allowed to build extra homes in exchange for reimbursing the families being evacuated.