After 30 Years of Legal Battle, Israeli Court OKs Evacuation of East Jerusalem Family

An Israeli court ordered Friday the evacuation of 18 Palestinian family members from their home in East Jerusalem's Silwan neighborhood, ending a decades-long legal battle.

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Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court Judge Miriam Kaslassy ordered the eviction of the Sumreen family, who have been fighting for 30 years against the Jewish National Fund’s attempts to take ownership of their home, backed by far-right settler group Elad.

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The JNF claims that one of the family’s ancestors was an “absentee,” i.e., a civilian who lived in an enemy country, as a result of which his property was confiscated by the state, which sold it to the JNF. This sale failed, however, when it was proved that the so-called absentee had actually lived and died in Jerusalem. 

Subsequently, the JNF managed to prove that two of the man’s heirs were absentees, and as such, it indeed owns the structure. Kaslassy accepted the JNF’s claim of ownership on this basis.