Uptick in Settlement Displacements: Shamasneh Family Evicted

In August we reported:

Um Haroun  in Sheikh Jarrah: The Palestinian community living in this area is facing intense harassment. This includes being targeted with additional proceeding of evictions and a systematic inspection of Palestinian properties by the Custodian General, who manages many of the property in that area. The most imminent eviction is the one threatening the Shamasneh family, which has been harassed by the Custodian General since 2009 and recently lost its appeal to the Supreme Court. The map prepared by Peace Now shows the extent to which the community of Um Haroun is at risk, as the settlers’ expanding control over that area creates a dangerous continuity.

On September 4, the Shamasneh family was evicted from its home, where family members had lived since the mid-1960s. Further background on the case from Peace Now is here. The Shamasneh family was immediately replaced by settlers (with celebratory photos, video and commentary tweeted and posted in real time). East Jerusalem settler leader Aryeh King, the head of the settlement organization known as the Israel Lands Fund (and now also a city councilman), publicly exulted in the eviction and promised more of the same:

“I expect more evictions this year of residents who refuse to recognize the Jewish owners of the properties where they are living. With the opening of the new National Insurance Institute nearby, the Nahalat Shimon [Shimon Hatzaddik] neighborhood is going to see a significant expansion of Jewish settlement, which residents of Jerusalem have waited for years to see.”

The Shamasneh family’s eviction was based on Israel’s law granting Jews a legal right of return to properties they owned in East Jerusalem before 1948 (no such right exists for Palestinians to properties in Israel). This is the first eviction of this nature in East Jerusalem in eight years. Palestinian media reports on addition eviction orders delivered around the same time as the eviction. Eviction proceedings have been instituted against a number of other Palestinian families in two parts of Sheikh Jarrah – Shimon Hatzaddik and Um Haroun, and others have reported receiving warning letters from the Custodian General threatening them with similar proceedings.