Jerusalem families face eviction

Legal notice served on Palestinian families to recover land claimed by Israelis.

by
    Police visited almost 100 households, which means about 800 Palestinians now face losing their homes

    Suitcases packed

    Yusra Mazaara was one of the people who received a knock on the door in the middle of the night.

    She lives in a four-room apartment with her family of 12.

    Her son was shot by Israeli soldiers seven years ago - he is now an invalid.

    Yusra took me through to the bedroom, where the family has been packing suitcases since the eviction letter came.

    "We don't want to leave," she told me, "it's the only home we have."

    Legally bought

    In all, the police visited almost 100 households, which means about 800 Palestinians are now threatened with losing their homes.

    Yusra Mazaara's son was shot by Israeli
     troops seven years ago and is now an invalid

    Abdullah Alkam, a local sheikh, says he bought the land seven years ago and built the homes on it, legally.

    Alkam said: "I am ready to go to court tomorrow or the day after tomorrow, anytime. I have got all the right papers, ownership papers.

    "This land is mine.

    Believe me, they will not go to court because they know the land is mine."

    So there is no court order yet, just a letter from a lawyer, but this story touches on the heart of the conflict - East Jerusalem - and who has the right to live here.

    Land developers

    So I journeyed from the poorest part of Jerusalem to the richest part, where Eitan Gaby, the lawyer representing the Jewish family, has his office.

    Gaby said: "I'm willing to sit with any tenant over there and look over their papers and even help them with the people who sold them these homes to see if they are fake documents, because we know there are a lot of fake transactions over there in that area."

    He told me that Israeli developers have plans to build on this land and that he has already secured the eviction of seven Palestinian families whose homes stood on a plot nearby.

    This is supposedly a civil dispute concerning the ownership of property. But in Jerusalem, land is politics.

    The people who live in these cramped apartments believe they are part of a larger Israeli scheme – to remove Palestinians from this city.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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