Arab Family in Sheikh Jarrah Agrees to Return Home to Jewish Owners

Israeli security forces place cement blocks at the entrance to the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, in East Yerushalayim. (Jamal Awad/Flash90/File)

With a High Court decision in the Sheikh Jarrah-Shimon HaTzaddik eviction dispute still pending, another Arab family living in the same neighborhood has reached an agreement with the Jewish owners of their home to hand over the property.

Under the terms of the agreement, the family – who are not part of the current appeal against a ruling by the Yerushalayim District Court to evict the families living in the properties in question – will vacate the home, but not for several years.

The compromise, which was given the force of a legal ruling in the Yerushalayim magistrates court a few days ago, could serve as a precedent for other local Arab families and is seen as a blow to the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, which are both pressuring Arab residents of Sheikh Jarrah-Shimon HaTzaddik to refuse any proposed deals to vacate the properties.

Approximately a week ago, the PA and Hamas convinced the petitioners to reject a High Court compromise under which they would acknowledge that the properties in which they are living are owned by Jews but be able to remain in them as tenants under special protected status. Some of the families were willing to accept the compromise.

The agreement reached this week, first reported by Yisrael Hayom, pertains to a property in which an Arab family has been living since 1956 and was reached after the owners filed an eviction lawsuit. Under the terms of the deal, the tenants will pay rent and be allowed to stay on in the property, without special rights. This means the family now residing there will not be allowed to transfer rights of tenancy to anyone else, including their own children or other family members.

The deal also determined that if the property owners are granted permission to add on to the home, they will be responsible for finding alternate accommodations for the family living there.

In any case, the terms of the deal state that “no eviction will be carried out before 10 years have passed since the date the agreement between the sides received the standing of a legal ruling.”