Israel to US: Convince Sheikh Jarrah families to accept compromise deal

The proposal would recognize the current families and their children as protected tenants under Israeli law and would likely delay potential evictions for several decades.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

The Israeli government is pushing for the U.S. to persuade east Jerusalem families from Sheikh Jarrah to accept a compromise deal offered to both sides last week.

Israel’s Supreme Court recently floated an arrangement which would see the families facing evictions stay in their homes, on the condition that they pay a symbolic amount of rent to the Nahalat Shimon organization, which has ownership rights over the homes.

The families would need to pay some $465 annually, a compromise which would “give us breathing room for a good many years until either the land is properly regulated or there is peace,” according to Justice Yitzhak Amit.

Because the proposal would recognize the current families and their children as protected tenants under Israeli law, this would likely delay potential evictions for several decades.

But the families would need to recognize Nahalat Shimon as the rightful owner of the properties — a tough pill to swallow for many of the litigants involved in the court battle, who have claimed for years that the organization is a settler group that fabricated ownership deeds.

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Israeli media reported that immediately after the Supreme Court proposed the compromise, Israeli officials reached out to the Biden administration, in the hopes that the U.S. would convince the families to accept it.

“The international pressure on the Sheikh Jarrah issue needs to be deflected to the Palestinian sector,” an Israeli diplomatic source told Haaretz.

“The compromise presented by the justices is good for the Palestinian residents at the site and could [let them save face.]”

State Department Ned Price refused to comment on the potential compromise during a press conference on Monday.

“We have made this point before,” he said. “Families should not be evicted from homes in which they have lived for decades. We’re not going to get into these emerging reports or to comment on various detailed legal discussions, but we’re closely following them and will continue to do so.”

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