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Six Arab families from East Jerusalem appeal eviction

Akiva Eldar | Ha’aretz

19 August 2009

The eviction of six Arab families from their apartments in East Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood this month stemmed from serious mistakes by the authorities, including the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court, the former residents wrote in an appeal to the Jerusalem District Court.

The families contend that the staff of the Bailiff’s Office, who had orders to evict Maher Hanun and Abdelfatah Gawi, improperly evicted six other families as well.

The eviction proceedings were filed on behalf of a Sephardi Jewish community organization that the court found had rights to the property dating from the Mandate period. Following the evictions, Jews moved into part of the property.

The Magistrate’s Court ruling stated that Majad and Halil Hanun were evicted because they were living there by virtue of being the sons of Maher Hanun. In their appeal, however, they state that they are Maher Hanun’s brothers, and that they were living there in their own right and not through their brother.

Family members of Abdelfatah Gawi argue that they also have independent rights to the property, were never parties to the eviction proceedings, and never received orders to vacate the premises.

The lawyer for the evicted tenants said the Magistrate’s Court judge did not thoroughly consider the evidence, and that the court ruling even contained basic typographical errors, including mistakes in the parties’ names.

Tuesday, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs released a report stating that 53 people, including 20 children, were evicted from the Sheikh Jarrah site, and that another 475 may be evicted from the neighborhood, allegedly to build housing for Jews.