The Supreme Court ratifies evacuating Qirresh family from their property in the Old City of Jerusalem
May 31, 2016

The Israeli Supreme Court responded on Monday to the appeal submitted by the family of Mazen Qirresh against the District Court’s decision to evacuate them from their home in the neighborhood of Al-Sa’dyeh in the Old City of Jerusalem in favor of “Ateerat Cohanim” settlement organization. Therefore, the decision will be effective starting tomorrow Wednesday.

Lawyer Mohannad Jbara explained that he submitted an appeal to the Supreme Court against the District Court’s decision to evacuate the family of Mazen Qirresh from their home in favor of Ateerat Cohanim organization. He also requested to freeze the decision of the District Court until the Supreme Court makes its decision regarding the appeal which was refused on Monday by the judge making the eviction order effective Wednesday as the District Court gave the family until the beginning of June to evacuate.

Mazen Qirresh explained that his family has been living in the property since 1916 with a leasing contract from a Palestinian family that owned the property before it was sold to the settlers in 1986. According to the Israeli law, the family is considered a “protected tenant for three generations”, they are: Mustafa Qirresh (grandfather) and his sons (Kamal and Harbi and their wives) while the sons of Kamal and Harbi are considered a fourth generations and the protection ended after the death of another person from the third generation which was Kamal’s wife.

Qirresh pointed out that the first eviction case was filed against his family in 1998 but Ateerat Cohanim was not able to evacuate them because his mother was still alive and was considered a protected tenant (3rd generation). After she passed away in 2009, the settlement organization renewed its request to evacuate the property.

Qirresh pointed out that the family presented a leasing contract in 1998 that was between his father Kamal Qirresh and the Palestinian family that owned the property. The Magistrate Court approved the contract which makes Kamal, his wife and children considered as protected tenants but the District Court then annulled the decision of the Magistrate Court and started asking for the property once again after the death of Itidal Qirresh.

The Magistrate Court issued a decision to evacuate Qirresh family from their property and was ratified by the District Court last month. The Supreme Court refused the appeal submitted by the family’s lawyer.

The settlement organization Ateerat Cohanim seized a large part of the property of Qirresh family in 2010 and is looking to take the rest of the property where Mazen and his family of 7 individuals live.