Israeli court postpones hearing on expulsion of Palestinian families from Batn al-Hawa area of Jerusalem
An Israeli court on Thursday morning postponed a hearing regarding an appeal by two Palestinian families threatened with forced expulsion from their homes in the Batn Al-Hawa area of occupied East Jerusalem.
The Jerusalem District Court announced that the appeal will now be heard on July 5, while outside the court Israeli security forces attacked protesters, according to eyewitnesses who spoke to The New Arab’s Arabic-language service.
The witnesses said an Israeli police car deliberately rammed a mobility vehicle belonging to a disabled protester, resulting in him being lightly injured.
Israeli police also detained another protester, Adil Al-Silwadi, after beating him.
Sharaf Ghaith Al-Rajabi, a member of one of the Palestinian families threatened with forced expulsion, told The New Arab’s Arabic service that his family had since 2015 received several notices from a lawyer working for Israeli settler groups demanding they leave their homes on the grounds that they were built on land belonging to Jews from Yemen.
"This is a false claim because our family has lived in the house for more than fifty years. They claim to have documents but these are fake documents," he said.
Al-Rajabi added that the family would not leave their home "whatever the cost".
The Al-Rajabi family is one of dozens of Palestinian families in Batn Al-Hawa to have received eviction notices on the grounds that their homes were built on land supposedly belonging to Yemeni Jews since 1881.
Dozens of Palestinian families also face forced expulsion from their homes in the Sheikh Jarrah area of East Jerusalem under similar pretexts, in a case that gained international attention and became one of the catalysts for a conflict between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
While Israeli courts have turned over Palestinian property in East Jerusalem to settlers before, Palestinians expelled from their homes in West Jerusalem and other areas within Israel's 1948 boundaries are forbidden by Israel from recovering their properties.
Israeli courts have ignored documents dating to Ottoman times presented by Palestinian families, showing that they rightfully own their homes in Batn Al-Hawa, which is part of east Jerusalem’s Silwan district.
Zuheir Al-Rajabi, the head of a committee formed to defend families in the area, told The New Arab’s Arabic service that settler groups had made life for Palestinians in Batn Al-Hawa "hell" but said they would not leave despite "daily assaults by Israeli soldiers, settlers, and settlers’ security guards on residents of the neighbourhood including women and children".