Silwan- The occupation courts decide to evict 3 families from two buildings in favor of settlers
November 24, 2020

The threat of eviction and displacement threatens 3 families from the Batn Al-Hawa neighborhood in the town of Silwan, after the Jerusalem District Court rejected the appeals submitted by the families to the decisions of the “Magistrates Court” deciding to evict them from their properties, in favor of the “Ateret Cohanim settlement” association, under the pretext of Jewish ownership of the land on which the building is located.

Wadi Hilweh Information Center and the Batn Al-Hawa Committee stated, in a joint statement, that the District Court rejected the appeal submitted in the name of the Dweik family, and also rejected the appeal submitted in the middle of this month, on behalf of the Odeh and Shweiki families, in reference to the decisions to evict them from their residential properties. Odeh and Shweiki families filed a request to the Supreme Court to freeze the eviction decision, but the court rejected their request.

The Center and Batn Al-Hawa Committee, explained that the properties of Shweiki, Dweik and Odeh families are two buildings that fall within the scheme of Ateerat Cohanim association to seize 5200 square meters under the pretext of being owned by the Jews from Yemen since 1881. The association started delivering judicial and eviction notices to the residents since September 2015, demanding the land on which their homes are built, after the "Ateret Cohanim" association obtained the right to manage the properties of the Jewish association that claims to own the land in 2001.

The response to the appeals submitted by the three families was based on the "Legal and Administrative Arrangements Law" enacted by the Knesset in 1970, which stipulates that Jews who owned property in East Jerusalem and lost it in 1948 can take it back from the Israeli public trustee.

The Dweik family

The Dweik family lives in their property in Batn Al-Hawa neighborhood after the family's grandfather purchased the land in 1963. The property consists of 5 floors, where 5 families live consisting of 25 individuals.

The occupation authorities started pursuing the Dweik family in 2008, when the municipality issued a decision to demolish two floors of the property under the pretext of building without a permit, and after years in the courts, the Supreme Court rejected the municipality’s decision, only to surprise the family by a judicial notice from the Ateret Cohanim Association demanding the land on which the property is located.

The Magistrate’s Court issued a decision to evict the Dweik family from their property at the end of last January, and the family submitted their appeal to the District Court, which in turn rejected it and approved the decision of the Magistrate’s Court.

The building of the Shweiki family

Wadi Hilweh Information Center and the Batn Al-Hawa Neighborhood Committee stated that the decision to evacuate the property of the Odeh and Shweiki Building is valid as of today, after the Supreme Court refused to freeze the eviction decision issued by the District Court.

Qutaiba Odeh explained that the building consists of two floors, the first for the Odeh family and the second for the Shweiki family, pointing out that they will continue their struggle in the courts to protect the property from the risk of eviction.

Odeh explained that the Magistrate’s Court issued a decision to evacuate the property from its residents at the beginning of last February, and they filed an appeal to the District Court, which in turn rejected the appeal and approved the decision of the Magistrate’s Court.

The Odeh family suffers from the persecution of the various occupation institutions, as Odeh explained: “Our property in Batn Al-Hawa neighborhood is threatened by eviction in favor of settlers after years in the occupation courts. As for our property in Al-Bustan neighborhood, it is threatened with demolition, and the decision has been frozen for a period of 3 months, while a court session will be held at the end of next month for our third property in Ein Al-Lozeh neighborhood.

Odeh said: "What is happening with us as a family is an example of what is happening with families in Jerusalem in general and Silwan in particular, from the suffering resulting from the occupation's pursuit of our most basic rights, the right to housing, and this reflects the extent of psychological pressure and tension among families.”

In turn, Zuhair Al-Rajabi, head of Batn Al-Hawa neighborhood committee / Silwan, said that the eviction decisions issued by the occupation courts have been increasing recently, and this reflects the government support for settlement associations to implement their plans.

Al-Rajabi added: “The people of Batn Al-Hawa neighborhood face the danger of eviction and displacement from their homes at every moment.”

The suffering of the residents of Batn Al-Hawa neighborhood does not stop at the risk of eviction, as Al-Rajabi explained that the residents suffer daily from the provocations of settlers and their guards, and the repeated attacks on them, stressing the steadfastness of the people of Batn Al-Hawa neighborhood in their homes and on their land.