Suleiman family - Emil Salman
The Suleiman family in their East Jerusalem home. Photo by Emil Salman
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Tomer Appelbaum
Aryeh King. Photo by Tomer Appelbaum

An Israeli right-wing activist published an ad last week, calling for the aid of fellow activists in securing a court-ordered evacuation of a Palestinian family from its East Jerusalem home, following the police's refusal to do so.

Israel Land Fund founder and director Aryeh King, is claiming that the 18-member Palestinian family illegally entered a housing compound in 2002, despite the fact that it was purchased by a British Jew about years 30 ago.

Ruling on the case, a Jerusalem magistrate's court ordered the house be evacuated by March 1, saying the Palestinian family had to pay NIS 125,000 in damages.

According to King, the evacuation was set to take place on the date issued by the court, and in coordination with the police, until he received a call from the police's legal advisor, who indicated that the operation was canceled following the order of Jerusalem District Commander Niso Shaham.

King intimated that the police advisor said that the order to cancel was given since the evacuation was to take part a day prior to a meeting between Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and U.S. President Barack Obama, which could bring about "unfavorable headlines."

Following that cancellation, King appealed the state for an alternative date, with March 30 surfacing as the evacuations new timeslot. However, despite what King describes as repeated requests, the police has not responded to his demand to secure the evacuation.

In response, King published an ad last week, stating: "Strong men are wanted to legally evacuate Arab squatters, after Niso Shaham announced he won't allow for the evacuation to take place – the Jews will do it without the police's aid."

The right-wing activist added that he was looking for "dozens of unmarried army veterans to arrive this week and clear out the tenets themselves.

"All this month I've been sending the Arabs every offer they could care for to evacuate consensually," King told Haaretz, saying he went to see the Palestinian tenants "personally, to the Arabs, I told them: listen, I'll let the damages go, just get out, we won't harm you, we won't bring you to the brink of bankruptcy too."

According to King, he was told that a pregnant woman resided in the disputed building, and he said: "I've got no problem. You want us to wait until she gives birth? We'll do it, but in the presence of a lawyer and a left-wing public figure as a witness. They keep wasting time and don't give us answers."

"We’ve been warned that an action such as this should only be done with the police," King said, adding: "We answered that we can pull something like this off without the police. You tell them: 'Here's the warrant, take it, get out'. Whether it works or not is a matter of timing," King added.

Khaled Natcha Suleiman, who resides in the structure along with his sons' and cousins' families, told Haaretz that he will not evacuate the premises, despite the court order. "I told Aryeh King I wasn't going to get out, they can kill us, but we won't get out."

According to Suleiman, his father purchased the land back in 1935, but wasn't able to supply documents backing his claim. "I'm a poor man and have been sick all my life, I don't have the money to pay the legal fees for an appeal. I lost, but I don't intent to get out," he said.

Referring to King's intention to clear him out himself, Suleiman said: "King's men coming to get us out by force? Let them come. If they can take us out, let them. We'll die on this land and won't get out. It's our land, our father's – so why should we leave?"

Jerusalem's police department said in response that it informed King that it would "aid the execution of the warrant according to the date set by the court. The police rejects any claim of a deliberate postponement of the warrant's execution and will consider any independent attempt to evacuate as an offence to law and will act accordingly."

Read this article in Hebrew