Israeli Supreme Court Proposes Not to Evict Palestinians from Their Homes

Several dozen Palestinians would not be evicted from their homes in East Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood “in the next few years.” That is what the Israeli Supreme Court proposed today.


The Palestinians will have to recognize the ownership of a Jewish organization over their land and pay a “small rent”, but the matter is not entirely settled yet. A few months ago, the dispute in Sheikh Jarrah led to severe riots and to a war between Israel and the radical group Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

The Israeli Supreme Court now wants to throw a kind of “Solomon verdict” on the table with a compromise proposal. Fourteen Palestinian families from East Jerusalem had gone to the Supreme Court to overturn an eviction order from their homes by lower courts. That would now partly work, at least for some families. The court will rule on the others later, but so there is a precedent.

Israel’s Supreme Court is now offering the affected Palestinians “protected status” that would prevent them from being evicted from their homes “for years to come.” In return, the Palestinians would have to pay “a small rent” to Nahalat Shimon, a Jewish foundation that claims the land on which the houses are built. The Supreme Court thus de facto recognizes Nahalat Shimon’s property rights, although the Palestinians would be allowed to continue to live there for the time being. The court now wants to know whether the Palestinians accept the compromise.

According to the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz, the Palestinian families accept the compromise, even though they expressly refuse to recognize Jewish ownership of the land. However, the Jewish foundation rejects the court’s compromise and demands open recognition of property rights. So the issue is not completely over yet. If residents reject the compromise, they might still have to leave. Still, on the other hand, they are under heavy political pressure as it sets a new precedent for Palestinians of loss of property rights in East Jerusalem.

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