High Court Compromise Would Avert Palestinian Evictions

YERUSHALAYIM -
Palestinian residents of the East Yerushalayim neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah at a hearing a petition regarding the evacuation of several families, on Monday. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The High Court on Monday floated a compromise that would prevent the evictions of dozens of Palestinians in the east Yerushalayim neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah.

The cases examined Monday involve four Palestinian families numbering a total of about 70 people.

Lower Israeli courts have approved the evictions of the four families. They ruled that their houses were built on land owned by Jews before Israel was established in 1948.

But weighing a last-ditch appeal from the residents, the court suggested a compromise that would give them “protected” status.

The deal would protect them from eviction for many years, but leave the question of legal ownership unanswered, said Ahmad Amara, a consultant to the residents’ legal team.

He said the court gave the sides one week to respond.

The Court had been scheduled to issue a ruling in May, but it delayed its decision after the attorney general requested more time to consider the cases.

The threatened evictions fueled protests and clashes in the run-up to the war and pose a test for Israel’s new governing coalition, which includes three center-right parties and a small Islamist faction. For the sake of unity, the government has tried to sideline Palestinian issues to avoid internal divisions.

The Jewish plaintiffs say the homes are built on land that was owned by Jews prior to the 1948 Independence War. Israeli law allows Jews to reclaim such property, which was seized by Jordan from 1948-1967.

Reporting by the Associated Press.