Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh has urged families from the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah to reject a compromise that would allow them to remain in their homes for 15 years.
Earlier this month, the High Court of Justice presented the compromise to four Palestinian families facing possible eviction from their homes, which were owned by Jews before 1948.
According to the proposed compromise, during the time that the families remain in their homes, the issue of land ownership could be adjudicated, but in the interim, the court would recognize them as protected tenants and the Jewish Nahalat Shimon Company as the owners of the property.
The families would also agree to pay legal and court costs in the sum of NIS 30,000 to the Nahalat Shimon Company, according to the proposal.
The families are among 28 families facing possible eviction due to a land dispute between them and the company that claims ownership of the land on which their homes are located.
The court gave the two sides until November 2 to present their own amendments to the compromise.
On Tuesday, Haniyeh, who is based in Qatar, received a phone call from the residents of Sheikh Jarrah, who briefed him on the latest developments surrounding the dispute, according to a report by the Hamas-affiliated Palestine Information Center.
The report did not name the residents who called Haniyeh.
Members of the four families refused to comment on the report.
“Haniyeh told the people of Sheikh Jarrah: 'You are not alone, your people are with you, your resistance is with you,'” the report said.
Haniyeh was quoted as saying that the Israeli courts “are trying to impose Jewish prayers at al-Aqsa Mosque” and expel the families from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah.”
The Hamas leader was also quoted as saying: “We will not allow the occupation courts to extract through deception what they were unable to extract through war, so you do not need to deal with its offers, as it (Israel) is an illegal entity on our land, and we do not expect justice and fairness from it.”
He was referring to the 11-day war between Israel and Hamas last May, which erupted after the Gaza-based terror group delivered an ultimatum to Israel to remove all its security personnel from the al-Aqsa Mosque compound and Sheikh Jarrah.
Minutes after the deadline expired, Hamas fired rockets into Israel, seven of them toward Jerusalem and Beit Shemesh.
A statement issued on Wednesday by a group called The National and Islamic Forces in Jerusalem also rejected the proposed compromise, dubbing it a deception.
The Sheikh Jarrah dispute “is no longer a local Jerusalem and Palestinian issue, but has become a global issue thanks to the steadfastness of the people of the neighborhood and the support of Palestinians, Arabs, Muslims and the rest of the international community,” said the group, which consists of several Palestinian factions.
It warned against accepting the compromise, including the recognition of the ownership of the land by the Nahalat Shimon Company, adding that such a move involves “grave national and legal risks.”