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According to the BBC news last night, the latest violence in Israel / Palestine began after Palestinians were evicted from their homes in favour of Israelis. It seems highly draconian.

What laws does the Israeli government have (or use) to evict people from their homes?

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Short answer

A pro-settler organization called Nahalat Shimon is using a 1970 law to argue that the owners of the land before 1948 were Jewish families, and so the current Palestinian landowners should be evicted and their properties given to Israeli Jews.

Long answer

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The issue is more complex than the ordinary news consumer would think. This issue of law was the subject of contending property claims dating back for more than 50 years. This case's procedural history was born around 1973.

Now for some background:

The eviction taking place is located in the neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah - a mostly Arab neighborhood in Jerusalem.

What's the claim?

The Palestinian community contends four Palestinian families are being unjustly evicted from their homes in the above-mentioned neighborhood. The settler organization, Nahalat Shimon claim they possess the legal title of the property and the rent has not been paid by the tenants. They reason, absent rent, a breach of law has occurred and gives them justification to evict.

Timeline:

The neighborhood, Sheikh Jarrah was developed in the 19th century.

In 1875, Jewish communities purchased this land from its Arab owners, according to Israel's Supreme Court. The new owners registered the property in the Ottoman land registry.

In 1948, the Arab-Israeli war broke out. A portion of Jerusalem and its adjacent areas, including Sheikh Jarrah, were captured by Jordan. The Jewish families were evicted. The property was transferred to the Jordanian Custodian Of Enemy Properties.

In 1956, 28 Palestinian families leased the property from the Jordanian government.

In 1967, after the Six-Day War, Israel regained control of Jerusalem. A law was established, permitting Jews whose families were evicted by Jordanian or British authorities in the city prior to 1967 to reclaim their property - provided they demonstrate proof of ownership and the existing residents were unable to provide proof of purchase or legal transfer of title.

In 1973, ownership of the property was registered by the Sephardic Community Committee and the Kenesset Israel Committee with Israeli authorities pursuant to the above law.

In 2003, the owners sold the property to Nahalat Shimon, an organization that seeks to reclaim property for Jews evicted or forced to flee as a result of the 1948 war.

Backtrack:

In 1982, the SCC and KIC (above-mentioned) sued the Palestinian families residing in Sheikh Jarrah and demanded their eviction on the grounds they were squatters on the property. The Magistrate Court determined that the Palestinian families could not demonstrate their ownership of the property, but they enjoyed Protected Tenant Status. As protected tenants, they would be able to continue living on the property as long as they paid rent and maintained the property. This arrangement was agreed upon mutually in agreement signed by the parties, in which the tenants recognized the trusts' ownership in exchange for protected tenant status.

In 1993, the trusts began proceedings against the residents based on their non-payment of rent and illegal changes to the property.

In 1997, Suliman Darwish Hijazi, a Palestinian man, attempted to challenge the trusts' ownership of the property, based on a Kushan, an Ottoman title, that he allegedly purchased from a Jordanian man, al- Bandeq, in 1961. The court ruled that Hijazi failed to demonstrate that the Kushan refers to the claimed property, and that forensic evidence raised the likelihood that the Kushan had been altered or forged. Further, Hijazi failed to prove that al- Bandeq had ever owned the property and thus had the the right to sell it. Finally, Hijazi had never acted to protect his property rights, both during the Jordanian and Israeli periods, by registering it, charging rent, or paying property tax.

Current state of legal proceedings:

Following the judgement of the Jerusalem District Court in February 2021, upholding an earlier court decision, that, in the absence of payment of rent, the Palestinian residents must vacate the premises, the tenants appealed to the Supreme Court, with a final verdict expected in the next month.

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  • This all sounds plausible, but I see no sources cited for any of it. Commented May 16, 2021 at 17:18
  • What law of Israel governs evictions? Was the law actually or purportedly followed (did the sheriff execute the court's order; was there a court order, or any legal proceeding), are there any legal documents that indicate that the law was followed – or was this a vigilante eviction? What document was filed with the Supreme Court – is a copy publicly available? The question is about the law, not the political practicality of the eviction.
    – user6726
    Commented May 16, 2021 at 19:32
  • I agree with @DavidSiegel's comment. A link to court filings would probably be somewhat useful. Although I would assume it's in Hebrew and doesn't have an accompanying English translation.
    – grovkin
    Commented May 17, 2021 at 2:45
  • @user6726 why do you think this is political? It mentions the claims, the relevant laws and the adjudicating forums. The outside links are lacking, but that's a different issue from the issue of whether this is a political or a legal answer.
    – grovkin
    Commented May 17, 2021 at 2:53
  • @YaakovPinchas what probably needs the most support in this description is the claim that "this arrangement was agreed upon mutually in agreement signed by the parties, in which the tenants recognized the trusts' ownership in exchange for protected tenant status." If this is true, then there was a settlement of all previous claims that both sides contractually agreed to.
    – grovkin
    Commented May 17, 2021 at 3:08
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According to an ABC News report, these evictions are stemming from a private real-estate dispute (we have all heard of this our entire lives). Israeli law allows Jews to reclaim these lands, but prohibits Palestinians from reclaiming their lands lost during that same war. In the past, refugees from Baka, who were in Jordan, Syria, and east Jerusalem - then controlled by Jordan - offered these refugees new homes in exchange for giving up their refugee status. They accepted and put down roots. Now that is being taken away. In 1972, Israelis informed these settlers that they were trespassing on Jewish-owned land. Families now have to leave by 8/1/2021. A Supreme Court hearing their case that was to be held on Monday, was continued at least 1 month. Jews born in east Jerusalem are automatically granted Israeli citizenship, but they treat Palestinians differently. Palestinians are granted a form of permanent residency that may be revoked if they spend too much time outside the city. Resource: Krauss, J. (2021 May 10). Dozens of Palestinian families in east Jerusalem are at risk of losing their homes to Jewish settler groups following a decades-long legal battle. ABCNews. Retrieved May 15, 2021 from https://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/palestinians-fear-loss-family-homes-evictions-loom-77595319

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    I am sorry, but while it seems like you did put some effort into researching the topic, I have firmly decided to downvote all answers to this question which are not based on legal resources. News reports on topics involving any disagreements between Israel and any of the factions of Palestinian establishment are traditionally and regularly colored by politics. A good answer on the topic of the law has to reference legal sources rather than political sources.
    – grovkin
    Commented May 15, 2021 at 22:08
  • For example, the sentence "Palestinians say the expense and difficulty of obtaining permits forces them to build illegally or move to the occupied West Bank, where they risk losing their Jerusalem residency" is entirely on topic in a political discourse because it's a question of policy. But a legal question is a question that a judge would have to consider when evaluating a legal claim. Judges are not in the "fairness" business. They are in the law business. The point of law is to codify which behavior is legally acceptable, to make it predictable. Changing laws is a political process.
    – grovkin
    Commented May 15, 2021 at 22:15

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