Last week, the Sabagh family received a notice from the Execution Office stating that it had to vacate its home in
Kerem Ja'ouni in Sheikh Jarrah until January 23. If the family does not vacate the house by then, it will face
eviction by force.
The eviction lawsuit against the Sabagh family was filed by a company called “Nahalat Shimon”, which represents
settlers seeking to build a large settlement in Sheikh Jarrah. The settlers purchased the land from two Jewish
associations, the Sephardi Community Committee and the Knesset Israel Committee, which in turn claimed to have
purchased the land at the end of the 19th century.
In 1948 the land, which was then without structures, was transferred to the Jordanian rule. The Jordanians
designated the land for the resettlement of dozens of Palestinian refugee families who exchanged their refugee
statues for homes in the newly-built neighborhood in Sheikh Jarrah. After 1967, the Jewish organizations recovered
the ownership rights on the land and began to demand that the refugee families vacate their homes. To that extent,
the associations were exercising the "right of return" of Jews to assets taken in 1948 (a right not afforded to
Peace Now: "This is part of an organized and systematic campaign of settlers, with the assistance of government
agencies, to expel entire communities in East Jerusalem and to establish settlements in their stead. Dozens of
other families face the risk of eviction by legal proceedings in which settlers and government officials exploit
discriminatory laws that allow Jews to return to pre-1948 assets yet forbid Palestinians from doing the same. In
this way, settlers seek to create a buffer inside the Palestinian neighborhood and make it difficult to reach a
territorial compromise in Jerusalem so essential to a two-state solution.