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Arab family evicted in Jerusalem, Jews move in (JERUSALEM POST) By MELANIE LIDMAN 04/18/12)Source: http://www.jpost.com/NationalNews/Article.aspx?id=266534 JERUSALEM POST JERUSALEM POST Articles-Index-TopPublishers-Index-Top
An Arab family was evicted from their home in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Beit Hanina on Wednesday morning, and 10 Jewish activists with the right-wing Israel Land Fund moved into the house, prompting left-wing activists to dub the issue "the new Sheikh Jarrah." The eviction is first step toward creating a new Jewish complex of 50 apartments in the predominantly Arab neighborhood.

According to Israel Land Fund director Aryeh King, a Jewish buyer 35 years ago purchased two buildings, each with two apartments. The properties also belonged to Jewish residents prior to 1948, he said.

An eight-year court battle with the current residents recently concluded with the court’s decision to award ownership of the house to the Jewish buyer. The controversy over the Shimon Hatzadik homes in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood was a similar issue, where the courts awarded contested ownership to Jewish owners. The 2009 eviction of three Arab families prompted nearly two years of weekly protests and the founding of the Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity Movement.

In Beit Hanina, the family in one of the buildings heeded the court decision and evacuated, per King’s promise to waive the NIS 250,000 debt the court awarded to the Israel Land Fund for damages resulting from the court case.

The second family, headed by Khaled Suliman Natche, refused to move and was evicted on Wednesday morning.

“Even if [King] gave me a million shekels I wouldn’t give him the keys,” said Natche two weeks ago. “I’m not going to leave, I will die here. Whatever they want to do, they can do. Whatever they want, I’m not leaving the house. If they kill me, they kill me,” he said.

Natche added that because land transactions in his neighborhood between Arabs are generally not filed with the municipality, they could not prove their ownership of part of the land.

King said the residents were aware of his work in the neighborhood for years and that the arrival of Jewish residents did not come as a surprise. The two buildings sit on approximately six dunams of land (1.5 acres) in the Hashakrir neighborhood of Beit Hanina, which is located close to the light rail.

The Israel Land Fund head hopes to build a new Jewish neighborhood called “Nof Shmuel,” or View of Samuel, on the land with 50 apartments.

The name refers to the tomb of the Prophet Samuel north of Ramot, which is visible from the neighborhood.

On Wednesday, King said that he had already received approval from the municipality and the Interior Ministry for the project and was awaiting the construction permit from the city, the last step in the approval process. Construction could begin within a year, he said. (© 1995-2011, The Jerusalem Post 04/18/12)

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