Israeli court postpones eviction of Palestinians from Sheikh Jarrah until Thursday
An Israeli court on Sunday postponed a decision to evict of Palestinians from their homes in the Sheikh Jarrah district of East Jerusalem until next Thursday
The Jerusalem District Court had originally ruled that families had until Sunday to vacate their homes.
However, the Supreme Court of Israel now says four families must reach an agreement with Israeli settler groups who want to take over their property by Thursday, according to the official Palestinian Wafa agency.
The Israeli court also previously ruled that seven other Palestinian families had to leave their homes in Sheikh Jarrah by August 1 to make way for Israeli settlers.
Campaigners have slammed the Israeli court decisions, which are based on highly dubious claims to ownership of land in Sheikh Jarrah by Jewish settler groups, as “ethnic cleansing” of Palestinians.
Approximately 500 Palestinians from 28 families face eviction. They were originally displaced from Jaffa and other localities in what is now Israel in 1948 and resettled in Sheikh Jarrah in 1956 under an UNRWA programme when Palestinian east Jerusalem was under Jordanian rule.
Jordan has recently provided some of the families with documents to prove their right to reside in Sheikh Jarrah
Israel has long attempted to alter the demographic character of Jerusalem and ensure that Palestinians are a minority within the city, expelling a number of Palestinians from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah and other areas in previous years.
The families have rejected a previous offer by settler groups under which they would recognise that the settlers owned their property in return for a delay to their eviction.
Hussein Abu Hussein, a member of the legal team representing the families, told The New Arab’s Arabic-language service that it was very unlikely that the families would ever reach an agreement with settler groups.
He added that more documents were needed from Jordanian authorities in order to counter the claims of settlers that they owned the Sheikh Jarrah properties, saying that some of the current documents lacked necessary stamps.
Israel has recently stepped up a campaign of harassment and intimidation of Palestinians in east Jerusalem, coinciding with the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.
Last month, Jewish extremists marched through east Jerusalem under Israeli police protection, chanting “Death to Arabs” and assaulting scores of Palestinians.