Deputy mayor wants more Jews in E. J'lem

Many Sheikh Jarrah homes will soon be populated with Jews, Hadari says.

By ABE SELIG
March 10, 2010 03:30
2 minute read.
Jerusalem Deputy Mayor David Hadari (NRP), center,

daviv hadari sheikh jarrah 311. (photo credit: Jerusalem Municipality)

 
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Deputy Mayor of Jerusalem David Hadari (Habayit Hayehudi) toured the eastern Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood on Tuesday and called for an increase in the Jewish presence there.

“More homes in Shimon Hatzadik [the Hebrew name for Sheikh Jarrah] will soon be populated with Jews,” Hadari said. “We’re talking about property that belongs to Jews, and it’s been listed as such by law.”

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“Even though leftist protesters were emboldened by the Supreme Court, which authorized them to protest here, they refuse to accept the [district] court ruling that declared that these properties and houses belong to Jews,” he said.

A police force that accompanied Hadari prevented a number of Arab residents from confronting the deputy mayor, after they attempted to complain to him, face to face, about the home evictions in the neighborhood.

“As upholders of the law, we must implement the court’s decision, which called for the return of Jewish properties in the neighborhood to their legal owners,” Hadari added.

“In accordance with that ruling,” he said, “more Jewish families will be populating homes in the neighborhood soon.”

A spokeswoman from the NGO Ir Amim, which advocates for Palestinian rights in Jerusalem, told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday that Hadari’s tour of the neighborhood and his comments were “a preposterous provocation in an already explosive area.”

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“Nobody has yet heard of any constructive thing that deputy mayor Hadari has done,” she said. “And this is just a very sad way for him to search for publicity.

“Four families have already been evicted in the neighborhood and there are advanced legal procedures against two more families,” she continued. “We are following the court’s decision, but also emphasizing the political impact of this as well – the place is exploding.”

Tension in the neighborhood has remained high since the evictions of two Arab families – the Gawis and the Hanouns – from their homes in August.

Jewish families moved into the houses soon after the evictions, which took place after the Jerusalem District Court ruled in favor of the homes’ Jewish owners.

A number of Jewish families lived in the neighborhood before 1948, but fled during the War of Independence. Twenty-eight Arab families, who were receiving assistance from the UN Relief and Works Agency, were resettled in Sheikh Jarrah in 1956 as part of a joint effort between the UN and the Jordanian government, which controlled the area until 1967.


As part of their resettlement, the families were to forgo their refugee status, and in return receive the titles to the properties – a step which never took place.

Two Jewish organizations – the Sephardi Community Committee and Nahalat Shimon International – began petitioning the courts in the 1970s for renewed rights to the properties and legal battles have continued since.

Meanwhile, weekly demonstrations in the neighborhood against the evictions have continued to grow in size and intensity. A rally in Sheikh Jarrah last Saturday night drew thousands of protesters while the Friday afternoon rallies continue to draw hundreds of Israelis, Palestinians and foreign left-wing activists.

There has also been ongoing violence between the Arab and Jewish residents of the neighborhood, and a number of MKs have asked the Jerusalem police to beef up its presence in the area to prevent further unrest.

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