Palestinians removed from Jerusalem home to make way for Jewish settler takeover

MEE Staff

Middle East Eye  /  July 11, 2023

Israeli authorities storm the home of Sub Laban family in occupied East Jerusalem and force the family out.

Israeli forces removed a Palestinian family from their home in occupied East Jerusalem early on Tuesday morning to make way for Jewish settler groups to take it over.

Around 20 heavily armed officers stormed the house in the Old City at dawn, forcing the current residents, the Sub Laban family, out of the building they have lived in for 70 years.

Mustafa Sub Laban, 72, was inside the house when officers arrived, while his wife, Nora Sub Laban, 68, was outside. 

The house is located in Aqabat al-Khalidiya neighbourhood, near Al-Aqsa Mosque. 

“They [Israeli forces] don’t know democracy… They are a government of criminals, thieves who have stolen everything from us,” Nora told local media after returning to her home to find it seized by police. 

According to local media, eyewitnesses reported that Israeli forces, who were reinforced with special units, set up military checkpoints around the neighbourhood and surrounded the family home before storming it.  

Videos shared online showed members of the family pushed out into the streets, shouting and crying in distress.

“They have stolen homes, land, youth, children, women, they have stolen everything. The whole world witnessed what they did in Huwara, Jenin, Nablus, Silwan and in Sheikh Jarrah as well as the Old City of Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa Mosque,” Nora said, sitting outside her home.

“I am surrounded by Israeli [Jewish] settlers, we are the only Arabs [Palestinians] left here in this home. They hate us, you can see one of the settlers dancing around here, happy that they are taking our home from us.”

Activists had come out to support the family and denounce the Israeli forces’ use of violence to seize the home. They were quickly dispersed along with journalists at the scene. 

Police arrested at least five people, according to media reports.

The removal of the family comes after the Israeli Supreme Court previously ruled in favour of a Jewish settler group, the Galicia Settlement Association, which claimed the house was owned by Jews before 1948.  

The Sub Laban family had been renting the house from the Jordanian government since 1953, with Nora living there since she was born.  

The family had been fighting the expulsion attempts in Israeli courts since 2010. 

“Imagine a family where the parents are all the time going to the Israeli court, where they’re putting all their money to a lawyer just to protect their property,” Ahmad Sub Laban, Mustafa and Nora’s son, previously told MEE

“I remember when I was young, my parents would always be going to the court. It was awful, all the time.” 

Nearly 700,000 Jewish settlers live in more than 250 Jewish settlements and outposts across the West Bank and East Jerusalem in violation of international law.