Palestinian families face eviction from illegally built flats

Palestinian tenants’ families living in occupied east Jerusalem evacuate illegally constructed homes in build-up to demolition

A group of families face the threat of forcible eviction from two east Jerusalem flats whose houses are being built illegally, but the homes’ owners have rejected a proposal put forward by the Israeli high court that would offer them time to rectify the buildings.

The court ruled last week that the Palestinian tenants of the occupied homes in Sheikh Jarrah must leave by 20 January, after a court-ordered inspection uncovered live electricity and water in the building. The tenants have since vacated and the Israeli authorities announced they would act against those living there.

This week, the Israeli government said it would provide a chance for the two families whose homes have been targeted by the owners to pay for alternative housing while it takes legal action to remove them permanently.

Israel began seizing property in Sheikh Jarrah in late 1967 to build its separation barrier, the main element of its ongoing annexation of east Jerusalem.

That decision was followed by the purchase of other property inside the wall by Jews.

Despite numerous attempts by the property owners, who are now mostly Israeli Jews, to get the court to terminate the forced evictions, the owner’s lawyers were unsuccessful.

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