An Israeli court has ordered a Palestinian family to leave their home in Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood where they have been living since before the creation of the occupation state. The court ruled that the house should be handed over to Jewish settlers who have claimed ownership since 1987.
According to Ibrahim Salem, the actual owner of the house, the court ordered that he and his family must leave between 1 March and 1 April.
Reports revealed that this ruling came after a right-wing member of the Israeli-controlled Jerusalem city council, Yonatan Yosef, and the deputy mayor, Arieh King, claimed to have bought the house from its alleged “pre-1948 Jewish owners”.
Fatemeh Salem lives in the house with her children and grandchildren. She pointed out that she has been living there since she was born in 1952. “My father told me that he lived in this house before 1948 [when Israel was founded],” she told Anadolu news agency.
The suffering of the Salem family started in 1987, when Jewish settlers obtained an eviction order, but the family succeeded in getting the order halted. In 2012, the settlers reopened the case in order to enforce the 1987 eviction, and the family received another eviction order in 2015, when Fatemeh’s husband fell into a coma; he died six months later.
The family were given until 29 December last year to leave the house, but the eviction order was not implemented following a public and international uproar over Israel’s policy of expelling Palestinians from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah in order to turn them over to Jewish settlers.
“I was born in this house along with my five sisters and three brothers,” Fatemeh Salem told Anadolu. “We lived together in this house. I grew up and got married. I stayed with my parents. I will never leave it. I do not care if they claim they have documents that ‘prove’ their ownership. It is my house and it will remain my house.”
She said that her family is being harassed by the Jewish settlers, who have been squatting in front of her house.
Settler violence against Palestinians has increased recently in the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories, mainly the West Bank and East Jerusalem, including Sheikh Jarrah. The intensive settler aggression on Sheikh Jarrah has made international headlines, exposing the reality of Palestinians living under Israel’s brutal military occupation.