How did Elad settlement association seize the Rweidi family's homes in Silwan?
On Monday 8/4/2018, Elad settlement association seized three houses belonging to Rweidi family in Al-Ein Street in Silwan, south of Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Elad association was able to seize the three houses in twisted ways. Dozens of Israeli soldiers, officers and workers evicted the residents from their homes. The family confirmed that they had not received any decision to vacate the houses and that they had been fighting in courts to prove their right to their homes for about two years.
In addition, Mahmoud Atallah Rweidi explained to Wadi Hilweh Information Center that Elad association seized the homes of Khaled Rweidi and his brothers which is leased to Ata Rweidi, and the house of the heirs of the sons of Atallah Suleiman Rweidi where the wife of Rizeq Rweidi and her sons and grandsons live, and the third house is the house of Faisal Rweidi where 13 people live.
He added that the occupation forces imposed a complete closure on Al-Ein Street yesterday, and closed the roads leading to the houses as the forces began to storm the three houses and forcibly removed residents after the confiscation of their mobile phones and then the workers loaded the contents of the homes in trucks, and then changed the locks of doors. Verbal altercations broke out between the residents and the occupation forces which beat and pushed a number of those present to force them out of the houses and move away from.
Rweidi explained that Elad association has been trying to control the houses for three years, claiming that his brother, Rizeq Rweidi, sold them to the association before he was killed by unknown persons. Since then, the family has submitted the necessary papers confirming that Rizeq does not own the houses but lives in one of them which is his father’s house (Atallah Rweidi), and it is an inheritance for seven people, "Rizeq, his brothers and sisters" and he has no right to sell or buy.
He added that in another plan to take over the houses, it was alleged that Rizeq was owed to Elad Association, and after the declaration of his bankruptcy, the association agreed with the collection department appointed by the Central Court in the "bankruptcy file" to give the houses to the Association and to pay the money to the treasury of bankruptcy.
Mahmoud Rweidi said that they objected to the agreement signed between Elad and the collection department because the houses belong to several members of the family and are not only for Rizeq. He said: "Although the case is still in court, we were surprised by the raid on our house yesterday and the eviction. The lawyer of the collection department claimed that the District Court requested the family to pay NIS 100,000 nearly two weeks ago to the court’s treasury to stop the eviction procedures, but we were not informed by our lawyers about the matter and we were only surprised by the intrusion and eviction. If we were told, we would do our best to raise the money to preserve our properties, and not be evicted to the streets."
Rweidi said that the family’s lawyer headed to the Supreme Court yesterday and filed and urgent request to stop the eviction proceedings, and the Supreme Court approved their request and issued an order to stop the eviction, but the officers claimed that the eviction was over and the owners cannot enter until a final decision is issued by the Supreme Court.
Mahmoud said: "We are barred from entering the houses, but the settlers and their guards are inside the houses, and all day yesterday we could hear digging noise.”
"The property was taken under the pretext of accumulated debts to my husband, worth NIS 7 million, even though my husband does not own these houses," said the wife of Rizeq Rweidi.
Wadi Hilweh neighborhood committee in Silwan warned against the twisted ways in which Elad association use to seize the Rweidi family homes. The settlement associations claim that they do not seize Palestinian houses without legal papers. The Rweidi family's homes reveal the falsity of settlers claims because the property are owned by Rizeq Rweidi, who was killed in Silwan and therefore has no right to dispose of any part of it. Despite the Supreme Court's decision to stop the eviction, police on the ground refused to implement the decision.
The committee demanded that the Jerusalem governorate to work to uncover the circumstances of this case through a team of lawyers in order to recover the houses.