Sept. 5 (UPI) — A Palestinian family was evicted Tuesday from the East Jerusalem house where they have lived for 53 years, the first such eviction in eight years.
The eight-member Shamasneh family, which includes a disabled man, 84, and his wife, 75, was removed by Israeli police after a years-long legal fight. Prior Jewish residents of the building claimed it was theirs, citing their escape from East Jerusalem, when it was occupied by Jordanian troops in 1948 during the war in which the state of Israel was created.
Thousands of Jews fled Jerusalem during the city’s seizure, and thousands of Palestinians fled from territory later united as Israel. Under Israeli law, Jews who can prove their families lived in East Jerusalem prior to 1948 can claim ownership rights to property. There is no similar legal provision for Palestinian property claims.
The Israel Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Jewish owners of the house in 2013; they subsequently sold the house to unidentified buyers.
Except for the spray-painting of the word “thieves” on a door — in Hebrew, English and Arabic — and an attempt by one member of the Shamasneh family to enter the home after the eviction, rebuffed by police, the transfer at the home in East Jerusalem’s upscale Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood was accomplished peacefully.
“Settlers are already inside the Shamasneh family’s home,” a statement by the pro-Palestinian organization Peace now said later Tuesday. “The eviction of the Shamasneh family, who resided in the house since 1964, is not only brutal but it is also indicating a dangerous trend that could threaten a future compromise in Jerusalem.”
Israel regards Jerusalem as a single, unified city, while Palestinians see East Jerusalem as the future capital if Palestine achieves statehood.