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1 March 2021

Dear Friends,

This Tuesday, the Jerusalem District Court is once again discussing a court case regarding the eviction of Palestinian families in the Old City Basin. The hearing follows close on the heels of a spate of other eviction proceedings against Palestinian families in Sheikh Jarrah and Batan al-Hawa, Silwan - two strategic areas on opposite ends of the Old City Basin that are hubs of state-sponsored settler activity due to the concentration of religious and historical sites within their bounds.

In Sheikh Jarrah and Batan al-Hawa, multiple groups are responsible  for advancing the settlement enterprise in this area, marked by mass eviction attempts of Palestinians, settler takeovers of their homes and bolstered by touristic settlement sites. Some of these include plans for a yeshiva in Sheikh Jarrah, the Yeminite Heritage Visitor Center in Batan al-Hawa, and a Cable Car that intends to channel thousands of visitors over the heads of Silwan residents into the epicenter of the Elad settler organization's touristic settlement operations.

This systematic campaign, driven by political and ideological motives, is being waged against the Palestinian population of the Old City Basin with an end goal of forcibly transferring entire Palestinian communities and supplanting them with Jewish settlers. These evictions are being advanced by well-funded settler groups who are aided and abetted on all levels of the state and enjoy the complicity of the Israeli courts, which carry far-reaching implications on the future of Jerusalem. Major players in this campaign include the Ateret Cohanim and ELAD settler organizations, the latter of which has received extensive support from KKL-JNF.  
Map showing settlement ring around the Old City Basin
Click here to enlarge image.

Click here to enlarge image.

The Reform and Conservative Movements in the United States recently condemned KKL-JNF's (a separate entity from JNF-USA) plan to approve allocating funds for land purchase in the West Bank with the purpose of expanding settlements. Reports by Peace Now explain that KKL-JNF has been using subsidiaries since 1967 to purchase land for settlements in the West Bank, and these transactions have only increased in recent years. In parallel to its land acquisition in the West Bank, KKL-JNF has likewise been involved in seizing properties from Palestinians in East Jerusalem. Over the course of three decades, the organization has advanced legal measures to take over the Sumarin Family’s home in Wadi al-Hilweh, Silwan. Through a subsidiary, KKL-JNF has partnered with Elad in this 30-year old case to evict the Sumarins from their family home

The Sumarin family is one of dozens of families currently facing eviction claims filed by settler organizations. Over the past year, the Israeli courts authorized the evictions of over 30 Palestinian families, totaling more than 100 individuals, from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah and Batan al-Hawa. While the families are in various stages of appeal proceedings, many are beginning to exhaust the relevant legal remedies, which could lead to a devastating wave of evictions in the coming months.

If the evictions are not halted, a total of over 1000 Palestinians from Sheikh Jarrah and Batan al-Hawa could ultimately be uprooted from their homes and communities and supplanted by settlers, potentially amounting to a form of forcible transfer. These measures not only constitute a flagrant violation of human rights, but also erode conditions necessary for any future political resolution on the city.

Ir Amim is actively engaged in ongoing legal petitions and public advocacy campaigns with the goal of supporting these families and ultimately putting an end to these measures of forced displacement.

To learn more, we invite you to join us and a coalition of partner organizations for an event: "Voices from the City’s Eastern Neighborhoods" this Wednesday 3 March at 7PM Jerusalem // 5PM London // 12PM Eastern US on Zoom. The event will take place in Hebrew with simultaneous English translation. Register here for the event.

Register Here for Wednesday's Event
Well Wishes,
Ir Amim Staff
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