Givat Amal residents evicted from homes after 16-year legal battle

In 2018, a court ruled that the residents of the Tel Aviv neighborhood living there illegally but nevertheless, the decision to evict the remaining residents was not overturned

 Residents of Givat Amal during the evictions from their neighborhood by Israel Police forces, November 15, 2021 (photo credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/MAARIV)
Residents of Givat Amal during the evictions from their neighborhood by Israel Police forces, November 15, 2021
(photo credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/MAARIV)

Police officers entered the Tel Aviv Givat Amal neighborhood on Monday morning to begin evicting families after months of protests by the residents following a court ruling that they must leave.

There are currently an estimated 45 families living in Givat Amal following previous evictions in 2014 of about 80 families. In 2018, a court ruled that Givat Amal's residents were living there illegally, but nevertheless, the decision to evict the remaining residents was not executed.

Givat Amal is one of Tel Aviv's poorest neighborhoods, despite being situated in one of the city's wealthier locations. The area has been described as "one of the most sought-after real estate areas" in the country, which is what led to the legal battle that began in 2005 and has continued until today.

A development project led by business tycoon Yitzhak Tshuva was first approved in Givat Amal in 2005, which would have seen it tripling in size to include seven new high-rise buildings, but displacing the population, many of whom have lived there since the founding of the state but do not have legal ownership rights.

Due to the lack of ownership rights, the displaced families were first told that they would not be entitled to compensation, but this has since changed. As of August of 2021, the evicted tenants will receive rent assistance during the months following the evictions, N12 reported.

 Residents of Givat Amal and supporters protest against the evacuation of the Givat Amal neighborhood, in Tel Aviv, on November 15, 2021. (credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/FLASH90) Residents of Givat Amal and supporters protest against the evacuation of the Givat Amal neighborhood, in Tel Aviv, on November 15, 2021. (credit: AVSHALOM SASSONI/FLASH90)

A Haaretz report from October of this year described the conditions of the Givat Amal neighborhood, pending the upcoming evictions. "Until today, they use boreholes they dug to dispose of sewage. Without fortified rooms, they take shelter from rockets under flimsy asbestos roofing. Weeds that have overrun the empty plots where residents used to live now offer refuge for snakes," the newspaper reported.

Ahead of Monday's evacuations, the residents of Givat Amal barricaded themselves in their homes, along with social activists who have arrived to support them. 

StandingTogether Co-Director Alon-Lee Green called for others to join him in helping the neighborhood's residents, saying he was "in the house of a resident who has lived here for over 70 years. Huldai and the government ministers allow Yitzhak Tshuva to evict an entire neighborhood so that he can build himself a luxury tower."

Hopes that the new government would overturn the eviction decisions went unfounded, a fact which is reflected in posters and signs plastered across the neighborhood with the faces of Justice Minister Gideon Sa'ar and Interior Minister Ayelet Shaked, holding them accountable for the decision along with Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai.