Arab family evicted in Jerusalem, Jews move in (JERUSALEM POST) By MELANIE LIDMAN 04/18/12)
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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
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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