The Israeli court postponed the trial of two Palestinian families facing forced displacement in the Batn al-Hawa area near Silwan in occupied East Jerusalem.
On Thursday, a group of supporters joined the ranks of the Ghaith and Abu Nab family as they gathered outside Israel’s Central Court to protest the forced deportation.
The Israeli army attacked the protesters and arrested three Palestinians, namely Basel al-Dweik, Adel al-Silwadi and Nitham Abu Ramooz.
The court hearing was postponed to August 7.
The Ghaith and Abu Nab families are two of hundreds of families threatened with forced evictions near Silwan and Sheikh Jarrah, and Israeli settlers organizations are seeking to replace Palestinians with Israelis.
Last month, the Israeli courts Postponed the decision Seven other Palestinian families from Silwan filed an appeal and they are facing forced displacement.
Earlier this week, the Jerusalem city government issued a series of demolition orders to residents of the Silwan al-Bustan area. There are about 1,500 people in the affected families, and they have 21 days to evacuate and demolish their houses on their own. Failure to do so will mean that the city government will demolish the house, and the family will have to bear the cost of demolition.
Since 2005, residents of al-Bustan have received warnings that they demolished nearly 90 houses under the pretext of unauthorized construction in support of a search to turn this land into a national park and link it to the archaeological “city David “park.
According to the Palestinian non-governmental organization grassroots Jerusalem organization, house demolition and court-ordered forced relocation are tactics used to expel Palestinian residents.
It is very important to note that the displacement policy is an ongoing policy for Jerusalemites. The occupation authorities systematically prevented Palestinian residents from obtaining building permits and forced them to build houses without permits. Then they charge hefty fines.
-Grassroots Holy City (@grassroots_quds) June 9, 2021
In a statement on Thursday, the Palestinian human rights organization Al-Haq stated that Palestinians in occupied East Jerusalem constitute the majority of the population, but “Israel’s zoning law has allocated 35% of the land area to Israeli settlers. Non-legal settlements”.
The statement stated that another 52% of the land area has been “allocated as’green spaces’ and’unplanned areas’ for which construction is prohibited.”
Silwan is located in the southern part of the Old City of Jerusalem, next to the city wall.
At least 33,000 Palestinians live in the neighbourhood, which has been the target of Israeli settler organizations for many years. In some cases, Palestinian residents are forced to share houses with settlers.
Some of these families have been displaced from the old city in the 1960s and have lived in Silwan for more than 50 years.
In 2001, Ateret Cohanim, an Israeli settler organization aimed at acquiring land in occupied East Jerusalem and increasing the presence of Jews, controlled a long-standing Jewish land trust.
The trust was established in the 19th century when land was purchased in the area to resettle Yemeni Jews. The settlers group claimed in court that the trust it controls owns the land.
According to Israeli law, if Jews can prove that their family lived in East Jerusalem before Israel was founded in 1948, they can demand the “return” of their property, even if Palestinian families have lived there for decades. The law only applies to the same rights that Israelis and Palestinians do not enjoy under the law.
“There is obvious discrimination here. Jews can take back any property they claim to have before 1948, while Palestinians who have lost their homes in 500 villages in Israel, including West Jerusalem, cannot take back their property.” Dahleh, the family’s lawyer, told Al Jazeera.
“These families cannot recover their property even though they hold Israeli ID cards and are considered residents of the State of Israel by Israeli law,” he continued.
“This means that if the Israeli court finally approves this forced displacement, this community will become a refugee for the second time.”