A Palestinian family was evicted from their home of 53 years in the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah early Tuesday morning, culminating a protracted legal battle by which Israeli authorities claim the property belongs to Israeli settlers.
The displacement of the Shamasna family marked the first time since 2009 that a Palestinian family was evicted from Sheikh Jarrah, when a wave of Israeli settler ownership claims
targeted the neighborhood based on a law that allows Jewish Israelis to take control of property believed to have been owned by Jews before 1948.
Members of the Shamasna family told Ma’an that large numbers of Israeli police officers, special units, and intelligence officers stormed the house and forcibly evacuated the family before they started to move their furniture and belongings into a truck.
The family highlighted that Israeli forces closed all streets and entrances to the area and prevented reporters and neighbors from accessing the building.
Israeli settlement watchdog Peace Now reported later Tuesday morning that the settlers were already inside the house, while the Shamasna family looked on from outside. A reporter from Israeli newspaper The Jerusalem Post said on Twitter that three teenagers had occupied the building.
Owner of the house Ayyub Shamasna said that an Israeli magistrate’s court, district court, and the supreme court have all ruled that the house was a Jewish property.
The Shamasna’s appeal against the eviction was partly based on the health of 84-year-old Ayyub, who has lived in the house since 1964 and suffers from several illnesses. According to the appeal, the eviction could adversely affect his health and the health and his 75-year-old wife.
Many took to social media to document and denounce the evacuation, including the Palestinian Liberation Organization and Ahmad Tibi, member of the Arab Joint List coalition at Israel’s parliament, the Knesset.
Tibi highlighted that while the settlers can claim ownership of East Jerusalem properties based on the premise that they were owned by Jews before 1948, no such a law exists for the hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees who were displaced from their homes during the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948, and many Palestinians had owned property in West Jerusalem that were never allowed to return.
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