The Jerusalem District Court to Hear Settler Eviction Claims Against 11 Families in Batan al-Hawa, Silwan

*** Update from 9/7/24: The District Court rejected the appeal of the Gheith and Abu Nab families and ordered their immediate eviction ***

In the coming week, two hearings will take place at the Jerusalem District Court (on Monday at 15:30 and Wednesday at 8:30) regarding eviction claims filed by settlers against 11 Palestinian families in Batan al-Hawa. These claims are part of a broader strategy involving multiple lawsuits initiated by settlers affiliated with the Ateret Cohanim association, targeting over 80 Palestinian families in Silwan with demands to vacate their homes.

All these claims are based on the assertion that the land on which the Palestinian homes were built was originally owned by Jews who, in the late 19th century, dedicated it for the benefit of impoverished Yemenite Jews in Jerusalem. Now, a century later, in the name of this same endowment, settlers are seeking to evict the Palestinian families and replace them with Jewish settlers.

The Jerusalem District Court to Decide the Fate of 66 Residents from Batan al-Hawa This Week:


First Hearing


The first hearing will take place on Monday, July 8, 2024, at 15:30 at the Jerusalem District Court:

Abu Nab Family Home: One family with 7 members.

Gheith Family Home: Three families with a total of 15 members.

Second Hearing


The second hearing will take place on Wednesday, July 10, 2024, at 8:30 at the Jerusalem District Court:

Um Nasser Rajabi Family Home: Three families with a total of 18 members.

Abd al-Fatah Rajabi Family Home: Four families with a total of 26 members.

A Whole Community at Risk of Eviction
So far, 14 families have been evicted from Batan al-Hawa, replaced by settlers, and approximately 700 residents from around 80 additional families are undergoing eviction proceedings in the courts.

Some of the claims are still being handled in the Magistrate’s Court. The hearings scheduled for this week in the District Court are appeals filed by Palestinian families after the Magistrate’s Court ruled that they must vacate their homes in favor of settlers. Additional claims have reached the Supreme Court after the District Court dismissed the families’ appeals.

About a month ago, Supreme Court Justice Noam Solberg rejected the appeal of the Shadeh family against the eviction ruling and ordered them to vacate their home immediately. In contrast, another Supreme Court panel temporarily prevented the eviction of the Dweik family and returned the case to the Magistrate’s Court to address legal issues raised in the case. In another lawsuit against the Shweiki and Odeh families, the Supreme Court requested the state’s position on the legal matters raised in the claim from the Attorney General. As of now, a year and a half later, the state’s position has not yet been submitted.

The Discriminatory Law:
The basis for all the claims is the same: one law applies to Jewish properties in East Jerusalem lost in 1948, allowing them to be reclaimed; another law applies to Palestinian properties in West Jerusalem lost in 1948, preventing their reclamation.

The Legal and Administrative Matters Law, enacted by the Knesset in 1970, stipulated that Jews who owned properties in East Jerusalem and lost them in 1948 could reclaim them from the Israeli General Custodian, even though those Jewish property owners had already received alternative properties from the state in 1948. This contrasts with the Absentee Property Law of 1950, which stipulated that Palestinians who lost their properties in Israel in 1948 would not be entitled to reclaim them. Because the Legal and Administrative Matters Law was applied only in East Jerusalem and not in the West, it effectively applies only to Jews and not to Palestinians who lost their properties in the same war and under similar circumstances.

For more information on international law and the eviction claims in Batan al-Hawa – see here.