Palestinian Family in Jerusalem's Old City Wins Brief Reprieve From Court-ordered Evacuation

Soub-Laban family has been living in Muslim Quarter home for 65 years, after Jordan made them 'protected tenants' in formerly Jewish-owned home.

Nir Hasson
Nir Hasson
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Ahmed Soub-Laban (center) outside his family home in the Muslim Quarter of Jerusalem's Old City on March 16, 2015.
Ahmed Soub-Laban (center) outside his family home in the Muslim Quarter of Jerusalem's Old City on March 16, 2015.Credit: Emil Salman
Nir Hasson
Nir Hasson

The evacuation of a Palestinian family in the Old City of Jerusalem was deferred Monday, on order of the Jerusalem District Court, but family members expect security forces to try to remove them from the premises again within the next few days.

On Monday morning, the Soub-Laban family was holed up in the house and refused to open the door to police officers when they came to carry out the evacuation. The police left, pledging to return.

They had not come back by early Monday evening, and seemed unlikely to do so on Tuesday, Election Day.

Earlier Monday, several clashes broke out between the dozens of Palestinians gathering outside the house and Jews who live in the area.

The Soub-Laban family had been ordered to evacuate the Muslim Quarter home in which the family has been living for 65 years. The court had earlier accepted the argument by Ateret Cohanim, an Israeli group that aims to increase the Jewish presence in the Old City, that the family could no longer be considered "protected tenants" and was subject to evacuation.

The house used to be owned by Jews but the Jordanian government gave the Soub-Laban family the house in 1950. Unlike Palestinian refugees who left their property on the western side of the Green Line and cannot demand their property back, Jews who abandoned property on the eastern side of the Green Line are legally allowed to demand its return.

Several years ago Israel's custodian general transferred ownership of the home to a trust that works with Ateret Cohanim, but the legal struggle over the evacuation of the house on Ma'a lot Khaladiya Road has been going on for about 35 years.

The family's lawyer says the evacuation should wait until the High Court hears the family's petition in about two months, but the Jerusalem District Court recently rejected the family's request to delay the evacuation.

About three weeks ago, private security guards attempted to enter the house but failed to do so. They were asked by police to leave the area.

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