Jerusalem families face eviction

Israeli authorities have handed out eviction notices to nearly 100 Palestinian families living in East Jerusalem.

Jerusalem families face eviction

By Jacky Rowland in East Jerusalem

Israeli authorities have handed out eviction notices to nearly 100 Palestinian families living in East Jerusalem.
The notices state that the Palestinian homes are built on land that belongs to a Jewish woman who died recently.
Her heirs now want to reclaim the land but the residents are determined to stay in the only home they have.
They call it As-Salam neighbourhood, which means peace.
But it was not very peaceful here in the early hours of Monday morning when Israeli police descended on the flats.
They handed out letters, telling residents to leave their homes within two weeks.

Suitcases packed

Yusra Mazaara was one of the people who received a knock on the door in the middle of the night.

She lives in a four-room apartment with her family of 12.

Her son was shot by Israeli soldiers seven years ago - he is now an invalid.

Yusra took me through to the bedroom, where the family has been packing suitcases since the eviction letter came.

"We don't want to leave," she told me, "it's the only home we have."

Legally bought

In all, the police visited almost 100 households, which means about 800 Palestinians are now threatened with losing their homes.

Abdullah Alkam, a local sheikh, says he bought the land seven years ago and built the homes on it, legally.

Alkam said: "I am ready to go to court tomorrow or the day after tomorrow, anytime. I have got all the right papers, ownership papers.

"This land is mine. Believe me, they will not go to court because they know the land is mine."

So there is no court order yet, just a letter from a lawyer, but this story touches on the heart of the conflict - East Jerusalem - and who has the right to live here.

Land developers

So I journeyed from the poorest part of Jerusalem to the richest part, where Eitan Gaby, the lawyer representing the Jewish family, has his office.

Gaby said: "I'm willing to sit with any tenant over there and look over their papers and even help them with the people who sold them these homes to see if they are fake documents, because we know there are a lot of fake transactions over there in that area."

He told me that Israeli developers have plans to build on this land and that he has already secured the eviction of seven Palestinian families whose homes stood on a plot nearby.

This is supposedly a civil dispute concerning the ownership of property. But in Jerusalem, land is politics.

The people who live in these cramped apartments believe they are part of a larger Israeli scheme – to remove Palestinians from this city.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16