Israel Supreme Court to reach verdict on Sheikh Jarrah cases
Israel's Supreme Court is expected on Monday to issue a final ruling on a high-profile Sheikh Jarrah case involving four Palestinian families in the occupied East Jerusalem suburb who face imminent forced eviction to make way for Israeli settlers.
The decision, which was initially set for May, was postponed after the attorney general requested more time to study the case and following daily Palestinian protests and sit-ins that were violently dispersed by Israeli forces using tear gas, sound bombs, and rubber bullets.
The four families are part of a group of more than 500 Palestinians - comprising 28 families - facing expulsion from the neighbourhood.
The threatened Sheikh Jarrah expulsions have drawn international condemnation and sparked global outrage.
The Palestinian families, who were expelled from their original homes during the creation of Israeli in 1948, have lived in their homes since 1956.
The homes were constructed on land provided by the government of Jordan - which ruled Jerusalem until 1967 - and under the supervision of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian refugees.
Morning. Today, a court established by colonizers will decide whether my father who was forcibly made a refugee in 1948 deserves to continue living in the home he’s lived in since 1956. And this is the reality for thousands of others. Zero faith, but some hope. #SaveSheikhJarrah— Mohammed El-Kurd (@m7mdkurd) August 2, 2021
Behind the recent lawsuits is settler organisation Nahalat Shimon, which claims Jews held land in Sheikh Jarrah in the 19th century under Ottoman rule.
But lawyer Husni Abu Hussein, who has been representing the Palestinian families since 1994, said he travelled to Turkey to consult Ottoman archives and found no trace of the settlers' claims.
He said the Turkish foreign ministry gave him a letter ascertaining "the settlers have no right, that the documents they have are forged".
"As long as there is no decision on who the owner is, residents cannot be evicted," he said.
The Israeli government has dismissed the Sheikh Jarrah case as a "real-estate dispute between private parties".
But rights groups say the forced evictions are part of a broader move to drive Palestinians from their homes, in a city coveted by both sides as their capital, and cement Israeli occupation over the whole of Jerusalem.
Human Rights Watch, in an April report, accused Israel of "apartheid". It described "discriminatory laws and policies" that "enable settler and settler organisations to take possession of Palestinian homes".
Since 1967, Israeli authorities have expropriated nearly one-third of the land in East Jerusalem from Palestinians, largely via settlements, it said.