Israeli court freezes expulsion orders of 11 Palestinian families in Jerusalem

Israeli court freezes expulsion orders of 11 Palestinian families in Jerusalem
In Al-Tour, ten families, amounting to 70 individuals, face expulsion following a demolition order by Israeli authorities on a five-story building due to not having a permit.
3 min read
West Bank
25 April, 2022
A total of 218 Palestinian families in Jerusalem, including 970 individuals, of whom 424 are children face expulsion by Israeli authorities.[Getty]

Expulsion orders against eleven Palestinian families in Jerusalem have been once again frozen by an Israeli court on Monday, Palestinian attorney Madhat Dibeh told The New Arab.

Dibeh, who represents the families, said that the Israeli court renewed a freeze on expulsion orders against a family in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood and against ten families who share a residential building in the neighbourhood of Al-Tour.

"The Salem family faces an expulsion order from their house in Sheikh Jarrah for allegedly not paying rent to the owner of the property," said Dibeh.

"Israeli settlers recently demanded the implementation of the expulsion order that was issued in the 1980s, claiming to have purchased the property," he added. "The family appealed on the basis that they have been paying rent and that the order has lost effect after more than 3o years." 

In February, an Israeli court ordered the expulsion of the Salem family by the end of March. Israeli settlers had forcibly installed a fence on part of the family's garden in January.

The Salem family arrived in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood during the early 1950s after they were expelled from their original village of Qalounyah, during the Zionist-led ethnic cleaning in 1948, known as "the Nakba".

The family's matriarch, Fatima Salem, is the last surviving member of the family's first generation in Sheikh Jarrah, living alongside her three sons who were born in the neighbourhood with their families and children.

In February, Ibrahim Salem, one of the three brothers, told The New Arab that "The Israeli court is biased. It only aims at emptying Jerusalem from Palestinians to give our place to settlers," he said. "Even if we appeal, we don't trust the Israeli court system. We depend only on solidarity in Palestine and beyond."

The expulsion order was intially frozen in late February before this new freeze was ordered. "The court accepted the appeal on Monday, giving a new chance for the family to make their case in the court," said the lawyer, Dibeh.

In the Al-Tour neighbourhood, expulsion orders had been issued against ten families, amounting to 70 members, following an decision to demolish the five-story residential building over a lack of construction permit.

"The demolition specified all the apartments except the fifth story," noted Dibeh. "We appealed against the demolition order on the basis that it is not possible to demolish the building without demolishing the fifth story, and on that basis the court had to accept the appeal."

Israel rarely grants construction permits for Palestinians in Jerusalem, which forces Palestinians to build without permits, leaving them exposed to demolition orders by the Israeli courts.

In 2021 Israel demolished 176 Palestinian structures in Jerusalem, 26 in January and February of 2022, displacing 343 Palestinians in the process, as documented by the UN Office of Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs - OCHA.

According to OCHA, a total of 218 Palestinian families in Jerusalem, comprising 970 individuals, including 424 children, are facing the threat of expulsion, mainly initiated by settler organizations.