The Supreme Court has canceled a hearing scheduled tomorrow that could have determined whether four Palestinian families in Sheikh Jarrah would be evicted.
The decision to cancel comes after the Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit’s office asked the Supreme Court to take two weeks to consider becoming a party to the case. The court gave Mandelblit until June 8 to consider the matter, meaning that the planned evictions — already approved by lower courts — will not go forward in the meantime.
Over seventy Palestinians in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood are set to be evicted in the coming weeks, to be replaced by right-wing Jewish Israelis. The Palestinians live in houses built on land courts have ruled owned by Jewish religious associations before the establishment of Israel 1948.
The Palestinian families had appealed the decision to Israel’s Supreme Court, which decided to hold a hearing to discuss the appeal tomorrow, which is also Jerusalem Day, a holiday commemorating Israel’s conquest of the city in 1967 from Jordan.
Palestinians charge that a 1970 Israeli law — while not discriminatory on its face — in practice allows only Jews to reclaim lost property in East Jerusalem. No similar law exists which would allow Palestinians to claim their lost property from Israel’s War of Independence inside Israel.
The evictions have ignited uproar both among Palestinians and internationally, with both Israel’s Arab allies and the United States expressing concern over the move. Palestinians and their advocates charge that Israeli law and policy seeks to “Judaize” East Jerusalem.
The Israeli Foreign Ministry has characterized the struggle as a “real-estate dispute between private parties.”