The New Arab / August 2, 2021
According to the documents presented to the Israeli Supreme Court, the Jordanian government had taken substantive steps to transfer ownership to Palestinians in Sheikh Jarrah in 1967, but the process was interrupted by the war with Israel.
Palestinian residents in the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah have submitted documents to an Israeli court showing Jordan’s planned transfer of home ownership to locals, ahead of key hearing on Monday.
The Jordanian government had taken substantive steps to transfer ownership of properties in Sheikh Jarrah to Palestinians but the process was interrupted by war between Arab states and Israel in 1967, according to documents presented to the court.
Monday’s hearing is the last chance for four Palestinian families to stop an Israeli order to leave their homes – to the benefit of Israeli settlers – from being carried out.
It came after Israeli Attorney General Avichai Mendelbit said in June he would not intervene in the high-profile case.
East Jerusalem came under Jordanian rule following the 1948 War, until 1967 when the area was occupied by Israel.
The 28 Palestinian families affected by the expulsion order have lived in their homes since 1956, in accordance with the UN refugee agency and Jordan.
Settler organizations filed a lawsuit in 1972 alleging that Sheikh Jarrah, which Palestinians fled to in the aftermath of the 1948 expulsion of Palestinians, belonged to them.
In the past months, the Jordanian government handed documents to the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah intended to help prevent Israel from expelling Palestinian families.
“All the documents we hold on property and land in Jerusalem have been passed on to the Palestinian Authority,” Safadi told a news conference in Ramallah in April.
“We are cooperating with the Palestinian Authority and the international community to prevent the expulsion of the Palestinians in Sheikh Jarrah.”
A rejection of the petition could result in the several dozen Palestinian families from the neighbourhood being expelled from their homes, further escalating tensions in East Jerusalem and the Occupied Territories.
Repeated attempts by Israeli settlers – protected by the Israeli army and police – to expel the families led to huge Palestinian protests in Jerusalem in May. Israeli forces brutally suppressed the demonstrations, injuring scores of Palestinians, and raided Al-Aqsa Mosque attacking worshippers.
The attempted expulsion of the Palestinian families from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah has been described as a potential war crime by the United Nations.