Shamasneh son calls house dispute ‘political,’ claims it favors settlers

“You can see the ruins of the village there. You want to take my home here? Give back my old home. Give me what’s mine.”

August 16, 2017 01:20
3 minute read.
Mohammad Shamasneh in front of his home in home in Sheikh Jarrah, August 15, 2017.

Mohammad Shamasneh in front of his home in home in Sheikh Jarrah, August 15, 2017.. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

The Shamasneh family has received another extension on its Sheikh Jarrah home eviction on Tuesday, when the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court decided a discussion on the matter will be held on Thursday.

The Bailiff’s Office issued an order for the Shamasneh family to leave their current home by last Wednesday, following a Supreme Court ruling from 2013.

After appealing to the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court, the family received a five-day extension that expired on Sunday but the family’s attorney Sa’id Ghalia managed to convince to court to hold the discussion on Thursday.

Ghalia’s appeal is based on two main issues that could lead to a further extension period of the eviction. The first is that the father of the family, Ayoub Shamasneh, who’s lived in the house since 1964, is an 84-year-old man who suffers from various illnesses and forceful eviction may harm him and his 75-year-old wife.

The second issue relates to the way the property is registered in the municipality records. Ghalia claims, according to the family, that the parcels and the plots in the neighborhood have no proper documentation, and checking that will require months or even years.

But the family’s hopes are not high. Talking to The Jerusalem Post at their Sheikh Jarrah home, Muhammad Shamasneh – Ayoub’s son who also lives in the house with his wife and four kids and has been running the protest campaign – said that he feels it was a fixed game.

“The law is on their side,” he said. “They support the settlers, not only here but also in Silwan, Wadi Joz and all the other neighborhoods.

“This dispute is not a legal one, it is political,” he added.

These types of evictions happen in cases where Arabs living in properties owned by Jews prior to 1948, were forced out when Jordan seized eastern Jerusalem.

Under Jordanian rule, these properties were under the jurisdiction of the Jordanian Custodian of Enemy Property.

Arab refugees, mainly from the Jerusalem area, were housed there.

Former attorney-general Michael Ben-Yair, who grew up in Sheikh Jarrah prior to 1948, and visited the Shamasneh family last Friday, said Jewish families were compensated after the war and received Arab-owned properties in west Jerusalem.

Ayoub’s son-in-law, Muhammad Zaheran, who was present at the discussion and who’s home in Sheikh Jarrah is also under the threat of eviction, said if Jews have the right to demand their properties in east Jerusalem, Arabs should also have the right do demand their’s in other places in Israel.

“Most the Sheikh Jarrah’s residents are refugees. My family came from a village called Salbit which is now called Gimzu,” said Zaheran.

“You can see the ruins of the village there. You want to take my home here? Give back my old home. Give me what’s mine.”

“There is no justice in court,” he added.

Meanwhile, the UNRWA issued a statement supporting the Shamasneh family and expressed their concern over the situation.

“We appeal to the Israeli authorities to reconsider their decision,” it said. “The members of the Shamasneh family are long-standing Palestine refugee residents in east Jerusalem, which is occupied territory and affected by continued settlement expansion contrary to international law. It’s a matter of deep concern that Palestine refugees who have already endured multiple displacements should be subject to the humiliation of the kind inflicted by forced evictions.”

MK Ahmad Tibi also expressed his concern regarding the situation. He called on international bodies to intervene in order to prevent the eviction.

“The Israeli government is continuing its transfer and expulsion policy against Palestinians under the title of making Jerusalem more Jewish,” he told The Jerusalem Post.

“It keeps breaking the international law and the Geneva convention. This is why we must bare the responsibility to recruit international support against this policy and strengthen the popular response in Sheikh Jarrah.”

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