UN coordinator condemns Palestinian evictions (JERUSALEM POST) By JPOST COM STAFF 04/19/12)
JERUSALEM POST Articles-Index-Top
United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for the occupied
Palestinian territory Maxwell Gaylard condemned the eviction of
Palestinian families in Beit Hanina Wednesday.
“Evictions of Palestinians from their homes and properties in
occupied territory contravene international law, including the Fourth
Geneva Convention, and should cease," Gaylard said in a statement.
Senior UN officials, including the High Commissioner for Human
Rights, Navi Pillay, and the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian
Affairs, Valerie Amos, have repeatedly called for an end to Israel’s
eviction policy, saying that the settlement of Israeli citizens in
occupied Palestinian territory is clearly prohibited under
Tensions rose in the normally quiet Beit Hanina neighborhood of east
Jerusalem after an Arab family was evicted from its home on Wednesday
morning, and a half dozen young activists from the Israel Land Fund
moved into the house immediately afterwards.
Khaled Natche, his wife, Lubna, and their nine children were evicted
after an eight-year legal battle found that the land was legally
purchased by Jews.
The eviction of the Natche family is the first step toward creating a
Jewish complex of 50 apartments in the predominantly Arab
neighborhood, according to Israel Land Fund director Aryeh King. King
said a Jewish man purchased two buildings in the neighborhood 35
years ago. The properties also belonged to Jewish residents prior to
1948, he said.
Natche’s brother, who lives in the adjacent building, heeded the
court decision and left a number of weeks ago. The court ordered the
families to pay NIS 250,000 to the Israel Land Fund for damages
resulting from the court case, but King promised to waive the debt if
the families moved out voluntarily.
Natche refused to leave, and told The Jerusalem Post two weeks ago
that he would never give up the keys to his home.
Natche said police arrived at his home at 9 a.m. and detained him for
questioning at the Neveh Ya’acov police station for two hours.
While he was being questioned, officers removed the family members
from the house and put their belongings in a truck. The eviction was
completed without violence.
At noon, Natche sat in his car outside of his former home with his
wife and four of his youngest children, and said he did not know
where he would sleep that evening.
“What can I do?” he asked. “I can’t do anything. These are the
results of an occupying government, this is a mafia.”
Natche’s lawyer, Khalid Masalha, petitioned the Jerusalem District
Court for a temporary injunction to stop the Jewish activists from
moving into the home, but the petition was denied around 3 p.m.
“We’re 35 years late, but better late than never,” King said just
before the activists moved into the home. “I hope it will continue
The two buildings sit on approximately six-tenths of a hectare of
land (1.5 acres) in the Hashakrir neighborhood of Beit Hanina, which
is located 400 meters from the capital’s light rail line.
The Israel Land Fund head hopes to build a Jewish neighborhood
called “Nof Shmuel,” or View of Samuel, with 50 apartments. The name
refers to the tomb of the Prophet Samuel north of Ramot, which is
visible from the neighborhood.
A local taxi driver, who requested anonymity, said the residents were
aware that some of the land now belongs to Jews, and they worried
that their neighborhood would turn into the next Silwan, with
children throwing stones at private security guards and frequent
patrols by border police to guard the Jewish residents. Beit Hanina
is a quiet, leafy neighborhood and one of the wealthiest areas of
east Jerusalem, and generally not involved in violent clashes.
On Wednesday, King said he had already received approval from the
municipality and the Interior Ministry for the project and was
awaiting a construction permit from the city, the last step in the
approval process. Construction could begin within a year, he said.
In 2009, a similar controversy arose over the Shimon Hatzadik homes
in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, where the courts awarded contested
ownership to Jewish owners. The eviction of three Arab families there
prompted nearly two years of weekly protests and the founding of the
Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity Movement.
Melanie Lidman contributed to this report. (© 1995-2011, The
Jerusalem Post 04/19/12)
Return to Top
MATERIAL REPRODUCED FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY