Evacuating Qirresh family from their home in the Old City of Jerusalem in favor of Ateerat Cohanim organization
September 18, 2016

The occupation authorities evacuated last Thursday (15/9/2016) the family of Mazen Qirresh from their home in the Old City of Jerusalem under the pretext of being an “unprotected tenant” after he had lost protection being the “fourth generation”.

Occupation forces along with personnel from Ateerat Cohanim organization raided the house of Mazen Qirresh last Thursday (4th day of Al-Adha Eid) and evacuated the family which consists of 8 individuals and includes a 3-year old child and a 2-month baby. They forced them to leave the property without allowing them to even take their personal belongings and furniture.

Mazen explained that settlers stormed into the house with the help of Ateerat Cohanim organization, emptied the house of its contents and seized them.

Qirresh added that the court ordered him to pay 270 thousand NIS as rent to Ateerat Cohanim organization and the lawyer’s fees.

Mazen Qirresh explained that his family has been living in the property since 1936 with a leasing contract from a Palestinian family that owned the property before it was sold to 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 generation 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 family from 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 May while 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 8 individuals live.