Court orders Arabs out of City of David house

Arabs lose legal battle over possession of eight Jewish homes outside the Old City of Jerusalem dating from the late 1800s.

By World Israel News Staff

The Jerusalem District Court ruled in favor of an Israeli group working to repossess Jewish homes in a neighborhood just outside of Jerusalem’s Old City walls that were occupied by Arabs, Haaretz reported Thursday.

The court rejected an appeal by one of the eight Arab families in a group of homes that were established by Yemenite Jews during the late 1800s and were taken over when Jordan occupied the area in 1948 following Israel’s War of Independence.

The judges ordered the evacuation of the building within two weeks on behalf of the Ateret Cohanim organization, but the family intends to appeal that decision to the Supreme Court.

The area of the Shiloah, or Silwan neighborhood is located in the Kidron Valley just outside the southern walls of the Old City. In the late 19th century, land was purchased for the group of Yemenite Jews who established a small community. However, the Jews were temporarily evacuated for their safety during the Arab riots of the late 1930s.

“This is an attempt to displace a Palestinian community and to replace it with an Israeli one, in the heart of a Palestinian neighborhood in East Jerusalem,” the left-wing organization Peace Now said in a statement on its website.

Peace Now also said that the Benvenisti Trust had provided residential units for poor Yemenite Jewish families, and the organization admitted that the land in question was purchased by an Arab family in 1965 from the Jordanian government, which while it “generally maintained Jewish property in its territory and did not allow it to be taken over or sold, did not prevent the sale of the land” in Silwan.

Ateret Cohanim issued a statement saying they hope the legal issues could be resolved and a peaceful situation will prevail.

“Given the sensitivity of the issues involved, and given the fact that matters are still unfolding in court, I would be remiss if I made any formal comment,” Ateret Cohanim spokesman Daneil Luria told World Israel News in an e-mail.

“I hope that all be ironed out, that true justice will be served, and that we see the day when Arabs and Jews will be able to live in harmony and side by side in any Jerusalem neighborhood,” Luria said.

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