Arab Squatters Evicted From Jewish-Owned Yerushalayim Property

YERUSHALAYIM (AP/Hamodia) -
Israeli police officers evict a Palestinian member of the Shamasneh family in the Shimon Hatzaddik neighborhood, Tuesday. (AP Photo/Mahmoud Illean)

Police evicted an Arab family from a Jewish-owned home in the Shimon Hatzaddik neighborhood in eastern Yerushalayim Tuesday morning, returning the property to Jewish hands.

Municipality officials backed by armed police officers enforced a court order to remove the Shamasneh family from a home claimed by heirs of a Jewish family forced to abandon it in 1948 when it came under Jordanian control.

Despite the liberation of the area in the 1967 Six Day War, for the past 50 years the home has been occupied by local Arabs.

After 1967, Israel allowed existing rental arrangements with Arab tenants to remain in place. But a law allowing Jews to reclaim former homes or repurchase them has set up conflicts.

While the law enables Jewish landowners to sue for a property’s return, the legal process can take decades, especially if there are people living in the home.

Police were ordered to evict the family after a court declared them illegal squatters, following their refusal to pay the Jewish owners rent, as well as causing damage to the property.

Officers closed the entrances to the Shimon Hatzaddik neighborhood ahead of the evacuation before forcibly removing the Arabs after they refused to comply with the eviction orders.

A small group of Arabs and left-wing activists protested the eviction.

Shortly after the eviction, Jews entered the house accompanied by a private security guard.