Evicted families say orders were illegal

Sons of Sheikh Jarrah residents file petition claiming eviction of two E. Jerusalem homes was not legal.

sheikh jarrah family 248 88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimsky)
sheikh jarrah family 248 88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimsky)
The sons of two Sheikh Jarrah residents who were evicted earlier this week made a last-ditch effort in Jerusalem Magistrate's Court on Wednesday to return to their own homes, which are part of the same building complexes as their parents'. The petitioners included Salim and Majed Hanoun, the sons of Maher Hanoun, and Hamed, Khaled, Munir, Nasser and Khamis Ghawi. They claimed that the eviction orders that police implemented on Sunday were made out to their parents, Maher Hanoun and Abdulatif Ghawi, but not to them and that they own their own homes and do not live with their parents. Both Maher Hanoun and Abdulatif Ghawi are more than 80 years old. Some of their sons are more than 60 years old. The sons' petitions were filed against the Committee of the Sephardic Community in Jerusalem, which has transferred its rights to recover and develop the land to Shimon Hatzadik International, a settler-related real estate company, which plans to evacuate all the Palestinians currently living in the area, demolish the homes, and build housing for 200 Jewish families. The Hanoun and Ghawi families, parents and children, were forcibly removed from their homes on Sunday. The original eviction orders were issued in 1999 and the families were forced to leave their homes once before, in 2002. However, they later returned, claiming that the land did not belong to the Committee of the Sephardic Community. With one exception, the sons all claimed that they had not been given notice that they were to be evicted from their homes. Their lawyer, Saleh Abu Hussein, presented the court with copies of the eviction orders issued in the names of the two fathers. But a lawyer representing the landowners asked the sons to show him their identity cards and found that the addresses of at least two of them were listed in Shuafat and Isawiya, where they have apparently been living since the previous eviction. Other members of the family returned to Sheikh Jarrah. The lawyer also argued that each of the housing complexes was one property and that the eviction orders applied to all of it. Before the hearing, Salim Hanoun told The Jerusalem Post, "They evacuated us two days ago. Many policemen and soldiers came to our house and broke the doors down. They evacuated us and put all my family on the street." Asked why he had not told the police the eviction order was not in his name, Hanoun replied, "We couldn't talk to them. The children were scared to death. They were crying like crazy." Hanoun said he and his family were now living on the street. Later in court, however, he presented his identity card which stated that his home address was in Shuafat. He told the court he had moved there after being evicted.