Dozens of Arab families may be evicted from East Jerusalem neighbourhood under court ruling

An Israeli Supreme Court ruling allows settler groups to move into dozens more homes in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah.

Justices Yoram Danziger, Esther Hayut and Miriam Naor unanimously rejected an appeal by Palestinians claiming to own a large plot in the western portion of the neighborhood. The court ruled that the custodian general, and other owners, including settler representatives, succeeded in proving they owned the property.

The decision means the properties’ owners will be able to initiate proceedings for the eviction of dozens of Palestinian families living on the property.

Moreover, the settlers will be able to move ahead with plans to build in the area.

Aryeh King, one of the leaders of the settlement movement in East Jerusalem said yesterday that in two days three Palestinian families whose leases are ending are expected to be evicted from their homes. The plan is for Jewish families to move in.

King also said that he is advancing a project to build dozens of housing units for Jews in the neighbourhood.

Sheikh Jarrah has been a bone of contention between Jewish groups – who call the neighbourhood Shimon Hatzadik after the ancient rabbi they believe is buried there – and Palestinians living there. Tensions have risen over the last year as the court has allowed Jewish groups to reclaim homes they said they were forced to leave after 1948, thereby allowing them to evict Palestinian families in favor of Jewish ones.

To date the struggle had focused on the eastern part of the neighbourhood. Three families have thus far been evicted from the area and 25 more are under threat of eviction.

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