Israel to raze Arab car wash in east Jerusalem

The High Court of Justice ruled on Sunday for the evacuation of a parking lot and car wash belonging to Arabs in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of east Jerusalem in favor of a public garden.

Hundreds of Jews and Arabs gather in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah in order to protest looming evictions, May 21, 2021 (photo credit: NIV BEILI)
Hundreds of Jews and Arabs gather in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah in order to protest looming evictions, May 21, 2021
(photo credit: NIV BEILI)

A parking lot and car wash belonging to Arabs in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of east Jerusalem are set to be evacuated, following a High Court of Justice ruling on Sunday evening to reject their appeal against the eviction orders issued to use the land for public needs.

The case involves land used as a parking lot and car wash that the Jerusalem Planning and Building Committee is taking over for public use for a garden and path next to a planned hotel.

According to Israeli law, private land can be expropriated if it is needed for public use, such as for a park, infrastructure or public buildings.

The ruling is not related to the case of four Palestinian families who are facing possible eviction from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah because the properties belonged to Jews before 1948.

“Evacuating the plot is a necessary step,” Religious Zionist Party MK Itamar Ben-Gvir said Sunday. “Now is the time to evacuate the families who took over the houses in the Shimon Hatzadik neighborhood [the Hebrew name for the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood].”

Tensions in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood sparked in May after the Jerusalem District Court denied an appeal against a decision to evict a number of Palestinian residents of the neighborhood from their homes. The current residents had not paid the required rent for many years and had not been able to disprove the claims of the Jewish Israelis concerning ownership of the property, the court ruled.

RELIGIOUS ZIONIST Party head Bezalel Smotrich (center-left) and supporters visit Sheikh Jarrah in May. (credit: OLIVIER FITOUSSI/FLASH90)RELIGIOUS ZIONIST Party head Bezalel Smotrich (center-left) and supporters visit Sheikh Jarrah in May. (credit: OLIVIER FITOUSSI/FLASH90)

Tensions surrounding the evictions and clashes between Israeli security forces and Palestinians on the Temple Mount came to a head on Jerusalem Day, when Hamas fired rockets toward Jerusalem, igniting the 11-day Operation Guardian of the Walls.

The ruling comes amid tensions surrounding Arab graves near the Yusufiya Cemetery in east Jerusalem and the plight of seven Palestinian prisoners who are on a hunger strike.