Local court freeze eviction of Salem family from Sheikh Jarrah

The family, which fled from Jaffa during the 1948 War of Independence, had settled in a small area of Sheikh Jarrah know as Um Haroun, which had been a Jewish neighborhood prior to the war.  

 PALESTINIAN PROTESTERS gather in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, February 14. (photo credit: YOSSI ZAMIR/FLASH90)
PALESTINIAN PROTESTERS gather in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, February 14.
(photo credit: YOSSI ZAMIR/FLASH90)

The Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday froze the pending eviction of the Salem family from their east Jerusalem home in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood.

The family, which fled from Jaffa during the 1948 War of Independence, had settled in a small area of Sheikh Jarrah known as Um Haroun, which had been a Jewish neighborhood prior to the war.  

An initial court eviction order from 1988 was never executed. According to the left-wing NGO Ir Amim, which has been following the case, the court records were destroyed and the details of the cases are not known.

In December, Jerusalem city councilman Jonathan Yosef, who acquired the property rights to the home from the original Jewish owners, delivered an eviction notice to the family together with Deputy Jerusalem Mayor Aryeh King.

In January, the Enforcement and Collection Authority’s registrar said the family could be evicted as early as March 1, according to Ir Amim. The family last week appealed to the magistrate’s court, which accepted the petition and suspended the eviction.

 Religious Zionist Religious MK Itamar Ben-Gvir's office set up in Sheikh Jarrah, February 18, 2022.  (credit: KHALED ABU-TOAMEH) Religious Zionist Religious MK Itamar Ben-Gvir's office set up in Sheikh Jarrah, February 18, 2022. (credit: KHALED ABU-TOAMEH)

The international community, including the European Union, has called on Israel not to force the family to leave their home. The firebombing of a Jewish home located next to the Salem family residence earlier this month, sparked calls by right-wing politicians for increased police protection and led to a series of violent clashes.

Tensions were further raised when MK Itamar Ben-Gvir (Religious Zionist Party) set up a protest tent outside the Salem family home. Police eventually closed off the street.  

The Salem family attorney argued in the petition that the new owners purchased the property with full knowledge of the family’s long occupation of the property. The attorney explained that this was the family’s sole home, while the Jewish owners were not dependent on the property as their primary place of residence.