Sheikh Jarrah in suspense

Submitted by AWL on 10 August, 2021 - 5:39
Sheikh Jarrah protest

On 2 August Israel’s Supreme Court proposed a compromise in the Sheikh Jarrah court case.

A Jewish settler group, claiming ownership on pre-1948 authority, seeks to evict Palestinian families from houses in the Sheikh Jarrah district of East Jerusalem in which they were settled by the Jordanian authorities when Jordan controlled East Jerusalem, before 1967.

The judges proposed that the Palestinian families pay a token annual fee to the settler group and in return get permanent and inheritable rights to live in the houses. The settler group demands that the families give signed recognition that the settlers own the land. The families refuse. The court will come back to the case shortly.

The judges, and probably even the Israeli government, fear a backlash against evictions. Sheikh Jarrah has been a focus for demonstrations, and was cited as a motive by Hamas for its rocket attacks which set off the Israel-Gaza war in May; the US administration has warned Israel against evictions.

Evictions of Palestinians in Israel from their homes are more widespread among Bedouins in the south of the country; the relative Palestinian majority in East Jerusalem has increased since the 1990s; and a court decision against Palestinians in Silwan (also East Jerusalem) in late June has been followed by demolition; but Sheikh Jarrah has become symbolic.

The Jewish National Fund is planning a survey to locate more properties in East Jerusalem and the West Bank over which it can claim Jewish ownership from before 1948.

The way out is through Israel ending its occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem and ceding to the Palestinians the right to a state of their own alongside Israel: two nations, two states.

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