The Sumarin family has been living in the same house in East Jerusalem for generations. Yet unless the Israeli Supreme Court rules in their favor, they will soon be evicted, their home and their land taken from them. Please urge your representatives in Congress to speak out against this injustice and sign the letter aimed at stopping this eviction of a Palestinian family from their home.
This case goes far beyond the struggle of one family to save its home. It is a part of a broader fight against the efforts of Israeli settlers to displace East Jerusalem Palestinians and to create facts on the ground that would block the path for an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement on Jerusalem.
Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-CA) is circulating a Dear Colleague letter addressed to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, urging his government “to intervene on behalf of the Sumarin family and halt their eviction from their long-standing home."
Please urge your Representative to sign on to Congresswoman Speier’s letter.
"DEAR COLLEAGUE" LETTER
Prime Minister Netanyahu
c/o Embassy of Israel to the United States
3514 International Dr NW
Washington, DC 20006
Dear Prime Minister Netanyahu,
We write to you regarding the ongoing attempts of the Jewish National Fund (JNF) to evict the Sumarin family from their home in East Jerusalem and ask for you to take action to prevent this eviction and ensure the Sumarin family is able to remain in their family home.
Thirty years ago, the JNF asked the Israeli government to seize the Sumarin family home based on Israel’s Absentee Property Law, even though the family had rightful title and were never absent. On May 23, 1991, without notification to the family that this process had been initiated, the property was subsequently purchased by the JNF from the Development Authority in a land barter. In 1994, Judge Yehudit Tzur ruled that the declaration of the property as absentee property was unlawful and therefore denied the claim for eviction, yet the land and the title to their home were never returned to the Sumarin family. The Israeli Government’s Klugman Commission later noted “grave findings regarding the functioning of the Custodian of Absentee Properties” and pledged to end the use of that law going forward but failed to apply the policy retroactively to past eviction cases.
On June 30, 2020, the Jerusalem District Court rejected the Sumarin family’s appeal against eviction by the JNF, requiring the family to vacate the home by August 16th. If the family does not comply, the JNF can then ask for removal by force, a potentially explosive act in East Jerusalem. On August 5th, the Supreme Court agreed to hear the case and issued an order delaying the eviction.
We believe that the eviction of the Sumarin family and expropriation of their property sets a dangerous precedent that is detrimental to the stability of Jerusalem and further undermines the opportunity for peace. We are highly concerned that, if the government of Israel permits the misapplication of the Absentee Property Law in the case of the Sumarin family, it will further apply it in any area that Israel acquires unilaterally through the proposed annexation of West Bank territories. This could formalize the illegal expropriation of private Palestinian land on a massive scale.
As strong supporters of Israel as a democratic state, we urgently request that the Government of Israel intervene on behalf of the Sumarin family and halt their eviction from their long-standing home.
Jackie Speier, Member of Congress