Judge Orders Man Jailed for Not Leaving J'lem Home

The Jerusalem Magistrate's Court ordered a man jailed on Friday for not obeying a court order to leave a home in the Shimon Hatzaddik tomb compound, where he lives with 16 other relatives.

The court ruled in response to a petition by the settlers' association Nahalat Shimon.

Khalil Hanun was also ordered to pay NIS 500 for every day he does not leave the property, plus NIS 30,000 in legal fees, to the organizations that claim they own the compound.

Seven Jewish families currently live there. According to plans submitted to the Jerusalem municipal planning and construction committee, another 200 apartments are slated to be built there. This would create continuous Jewish settlement between Sheikh Jarrah in East Jerusalem and Palestinian neighborhoods to the north, and would require the demolition of buildings housing 40 Palestinian families.

A similar eviction order was issued last month to the Kurd family, which also lives in the compound. The police were preparing to carry out the order, but it was delayed at the last minute, after the United States and the European Union lodged official protests with the Foreign Ministry. In a letter to foreign embassies, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' bureau chief Dr. Rafik Husseini warned that the family's eviction would create a precedent allowing for the eviction of 25 similar homes in the neighborhood.

Following the Six-Day War, the Sephardic Council and the Knesset Yisrael Council, organizations established many years before the state in order to manage the affairs of Jerusalem's Jewish community, claimed they had purchased the property from the Ottoman authorities. They allowed Nahalat Shimon to use the property, but in an arrangement brokered by the courts, the Palestinian families living there were deemed protected tenants. The eviction order was issued after they did not pay their rent.

The Hanun family, like the Kurd family, has been living in the complex since 1956. It moved in under an arrangement the Jordanian government made for families whose neighborhoods fell into Israel's hands following the 1948 War of Independence. In exchange for the housing, they forwent the assistance they received from the United Nations Relief and Works Agency and the Jordanian government.