Yesterday, April 5, the Supreme Court was supposed to hear the Sumarin family’s appeal against the ruling ordering her eviction from her home in Silwan in favor of the Jewish National Fund (the JNF, or KKL). Recently, it was revealed that the body behind the eviction claim is the settlers’ organization Elad. At the beginning of the hearing the judges announced that they decided to request that the Attorney General will state his position in the matters discussed in the case, and consequently no hearing took place. The Judges gave the Attorney General 60 days to give his opinion (see the decision here, in Hebrew). After the state’s opinion is filed, the two sides (the JNF and the Sumarins) will have a chance to respond, and then a hearing will be scheduled.
Only seldom would the court ask the State to give its position in a Civil matter between two private sides. Three months ago, the court gave a similar decision, requesting the opinion of the Attorney General on the matter of the evictions lawsuits in Batan Al-Hawa, at the Duweik family case, which was the first case from Batan Al-Hawa to get to the Supreme Court. It seems that the court is signaling that these cases are not just a “civil matter” between two private sides debating ownership over a property, but rather cases with critical public interest and even government involvement. Another possibility is that because of the far reaching consequences of the cases, especially in Batan Al-Hawa where hundreds of people are under threat of eviction, the court believes that the government should be involved, and maybe want some “help” to rule in favor or against the eviction, by putting some of the responsibility on the shoulders of the government.
Peace Now: “The government cannot continue claiming that eviction of families in East Jerusalem is “only” a legal matter between settlers and Palestinians. The government’s fingerprints are all over the Sumarin case. This is a political matter in which governmental apparatus, such as the Custodian of Absentees’ Properties, the Israel Land Authority and the JNF, have been utilized to dispossess Palestinians from their properties in East Jerusalem and to replace them by settlers. If the state’s position is that the Sumarin family can be evicted, the Government will become a direct party to a crime and unforgivable injustice. This is the government’s chance to prevent this wrong. Now is the time to put pressure on the government to make sure that it will not give its hand to the displacement of innocent residents in East Jerusalem”.
Dozens of activists Coalition demonstrated in solidarity with the Sumarin family outside the Supreme Court.