Israel 'asked US' to apply pressure in Sheikh Jarrah case
Israel has reportedly asked the US to apply pressure on Palestinians to ensure that Sheikh Jarrah families, faced with expulsion from their homes, accept an Israeli court's so-called compromise in their case.
It follows an Israeli court case involving Palestinians in the Jerusalem neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah, who could be thrown out of their homes to make way for Israeli settlers.
The Israeli court on Monday proposed making the four Palestinian families affected by the case "protected tenants", meaning they could remain in their homes for now but would effectively have to acknowledge the settlers' claims to the land.
Israeli officials are reportedly keen for a solution to the case, due to the huge backlash Israel has faced over the planned displacement of the Palestinian families.
"The international pressure on the Sheikh Jarrah issue needs to be deflected to the Palestinian sector," an Israeli diplomatic source told Haaretz.
"The compromise presented by the justices is good for the Palestinian residents at the site and could get them down from their tree."
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Another Israeli diplomat told Haaretz that the US is reluctant to interfere in the case as they believe the judiciary is "independent" and wouldn't be swayed by Washington's pressure.
A group of Israeli settlers have filed legal cases against Palestinians in Sheikh Jarrah, saying the land belonged to Jews before the Palestinian families - who were displaced from their homes during the 1948 creation of Israel - moved there.
The families' lawyers have checked Ottoman records in Turkey and insist the settlers' ownership claims are false.
If the Palestinian families accept the court's "compromise" they would also have to pay a small rental fee to the settler group to remain in their homes.
An NGO said the court's "compromise" has been made to the Sheikh Jarrah residents, and rejected, before.
They say the "compromise" would mean the families would face eviction at a later date and accused the Israeli court is effectively evading its responsibilities.
The Israeli government is reportedly keen to delay the court's decision due to continued anger and international vigilance on the issue.
Israel illegally occupied the West Bank and East Jerusalem in 1967, and has continued to expand Israeli settlements in the Palestinian lands it controls.