Palestinian family East Jerusalem
The Faraj family in the home owned by the Yad Yaffe organization. The court ruled the family are protected tenants. Photo by Michal Fattal
Text size

The Jerusalem Magistrate's Court has rejected two separate lawsuits seeking the eviction of two Palestinian families from homes in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan.

In both cases, the plaintiff said the homes had been sold to new owners who wanted the Palestinian families out. Two judges rejected those claims Thursday.

The lawsuits were filed by two groups closely linked to Elad, an organization supporting Jewish settlement in the area, and to Elad chairman David Be'eri, who is also the Israel representative of one of the groups seeking the eviction.

"Elad and its chief are doing their best, and using all methods possible to Judaize Silwan," said Muhammad Dahleh, who represented the Palestinian families in both cases. "They use various judicial entities such as a company registered in a God-forsaken Caribbean island. Only the steadfastness of the local inhabitants and their supporters, and a public and judicial struggle, can stop the explosive situation from deteriorating only a few yards from Al-Aqsa."

One of the suits was filed by Lowell Investments, which is registered in Australia's Cocos (Keeling ) Islands and already owns several buildings in Silwan.

The company said a member of the Karin family had sold it the house, and presented the court with an audio recording of an elderly member of the family who said the house was owned by the man who sold it.

But Judge Yechskiel Barkali ruled that at best, the seller owned a 16th of the house and said the tape did not prove that he was the sole owner.

The court annulled the sale agreement and awarded the family with court expenses and attorney fees of NIS 23,200.

Second win for Palestinians

The other suit was filed by Yad Yaffe, a nonprofit organization registered as focusing on "research of the Bible, the Mishna and the Talmud." The association sought to evict the Faraj family from an area next to the City of David, saying it had bought the house and the Palestinian family had moved in illegally.

Judge Rachel Shalev-Gertel ruled that the family was protected by the Tennant Protection Law and criticized Be'eri's testimony, saying it was "tendentious, and ignored facts that he was naturally aware of."

The plaintiffs were represented by Zeev Scharf, a lawyer who has previously represented Elad.

The group said those who have the right to the property would study the rulings and act accordingly.

"Because of the obvious sensitivity," the group said, "Elad does not speak publicly about real estate deals it is involved in."

In another recent ruling, the Jerusalem Magistrate's Court ordered Emek Shaveh, a group of archaeologists that regularly criticizes Elad, to pay Elad NIS 1,000 in a libel suit.

Elad had sought NIS 1 million.

Read this article in Hebrew.