Three Palestinian families were forcibly evicted from their homes in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah by Palestinian Security Forces on Wednesday, on the grounds of a rental lease dispute with the Palestinian Ministry of Finance.
Palestinian human rights NGO Al-Haq condemned the eviction, saying it amounts to a forced and unlawful eviction. Al-Haq added that: “The forcible eviction included the removal of their belongings from their homes, without regard for the bad weather conditions, or for the safety and dignity of the residents, including children, women and the elderly”.
The eviction came after an order was issued by the Ministry of Finance against five Ramallah families. The families rented their houses from their Kuwaiti owners in the 1960s but following the Israeli occupation of the West Bank in 1967 they were made to pay rent to Israel’s Custodian of Absentees’ Property.
After the 1993 Oslo Accords, the ownership of these houses was transferred to the Palestinian Authority (PA)’s Property Tax Department in the Ministry of Finance, to which residents continued to make their rental payments until today.
However, the Ministry of Finance requested its property from the tenants earlier this year through the Public Prosecution, without sufficient judicial grounds. The families appealed against the notice at the Conciliation Court of Ramallah, where the court judge ruled against the eviction. Despite this ruling, the Public Prosecution and PA police forces forcibly evacuated three of the houses.