Palestine: Israel SC offers Sheikh Jarrah residents ‘protected status’

Hyderabad: Palestinian residents of the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in East Jerusalem have been offered a compromise by Israeli’s Supreme Court which offered the residents a ‘protected’ to prevent their expulsion in the “coming years.”

However, critics have pointed out that the Palestinians would also have to pay a small rental fee to the settler organization Nahalat Shimon, which would make them tenants in their own ancestral land.

According to the compromise, the Palestinian residents will not be evicted ‘immediately’ in the coming years and the Zionist settlers demand the Palestinians to recognize the Jewish ownership of their properties.   

The hearing concerns the appeal case of four Palestinian families that reside in Sheikh Jarrah who have received eviction orders from the settler organization which claims to own the land.

 The compromise proposed by the justices would allow the residents, who have been living in the neighborhood since the 1950s, to remain in their homes and be categorized as ‘protected tenants’ who cannot be evicted. The residents would, however, have to pay a small rental fee to Nahalat Shimon, a settler’s association that acquired the rights to the land.

According to media sources, the representative of Nahalat Shimon, Attorney Ilan Shemer, opposed the compromise and demanded the families recognize the Jewish ownership of the land. The Palestinians, however, agreed to the compromise but rejected the settlers’ demand.

Justice Isaac Amit said “What we are saying is, let’s move from the level of principles to the levels of practicality. He added that people must continue to live there and that’s the idea, to try to reach a practical arrangement without making various declarations.

“We have seen how much this interests the media. We want a practical solution,” he further remarked.

On Sunday, the Jordanian government took substantial steps to transfer ownership to Palestinians of the contentious properties in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, but according to documents submitted by families, the six-day that took place decades ago, war cut the process short.

Experts say that this is the last chance the families have to prevent the eviction, a rejection of their petition could influence the situation faced by nine other families in similar circumstances and result in the eviction of several dozen Palestinian families from the neighborhood.

Recent months have seen tensions rise over the eviction orders; the issue also triggered the Israeli bombardment of the Gaza strip which left hundreds dead. Israelis and Palestinians gathered in Sheikh Jarrah to demonstrate ahead of Monday’s hearing.

Use of Hebrew during the hearing

Palestinians objected to the use of Hebrew during the hearing as the vast majority of them couldn’t understand a single word being said in a proceeding which was determining their own future.

A vice news journalist, Hind Hassan tweeted “The vast majority of Palestinians in this Sheikh Jarrah court hearing – which could determine the course of their entire future – do not understand a single word being said as it’s all in Hebrew. Those who understand a little are whispering translations to those sat next to them.”

Mohammed Al-Kurd, the Palestinian activist who was arrested months ago tweeted “We’re finally inside the court after hours of waiting. Of course, everything is in Hebrew and we cannot understand a thing. The press has been kicked out, except for a few. #ColonialCourts

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