Right-wing group given East Jerusalem apartment after court battle
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Right-wing group given East Jerusalem apartment after court battle

Palestinian family evicted from home in Silwan after court rules Elad foundation legally purchased the property

An Israeli policeman walks outside the former house of the Palestinian Siyam family during their eviction in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan on July 10, 2019. (Ahmad Gharabli/AFP)
An Israeli policeman walks outside the former house of the Palestinian Siyam family during their eviction in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan on July 10, 2019. (Ahmad Gharabli/AFP)

A Palestinian family was evicted from a home in East Jerusalem near the Old City on Wednesday after a right-wing Israeli group won a court battle that stretched more than two decades, activists said.

The apartment in the Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan was home to a 53-year-old woman and her four children, according to left-wing Israeli group Peace Now, which opposes Israeli settlements.

Police evicted the residents from the home and they will at least temporarily stay with relatives.

An Israeli court found that the Elad foundation, which seeks to increase the Jewish presence in mainly Palestinian East Jerusalem, had legally purchased that portion of the property and ruled in its favor.

An Israeli policeman stands outside the former house of the Palestinian Siyam family as some of them look out from a gate, during their eviction in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan on July 10, 2019. (Ahmad Gharabli/AFP)

“To take us from the house is like taking my heart from my body,” one of the Palestinian residents, Ali Siyam, 20, told AFP.

Elad said in a statement that “the property was purchased by Jewish people in accordance with the law, in good faith and in a fair and legal transaction.” It added that “three separate courts verified that the property was lawfully purchased by Jews.”

The foundation, known in English as the City of David foundation, also oversees a nearby archaeological center in Silwan that seeks to emphasize Jews’ historical connection to Jerusalem.

It was in the news recently when US officials attended an inauguration of an archaeological project organized by the foundation in Silwan, another break with traditional diplomatic practice by US President Donald Trump’s White House that drew Palestinian outrage.

Their attendance was seen as further US recognition of Israeli sovereignty over East Jerusalem.

People walk inside an ancient tunnel during the opening of an ancient road at the City of David, a popular archaeological and tourist site in the Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan in East Jerusalem. (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov, Pool)

Palestinians accuse Israel and groups such as Elad of being on a systematic campaign to force them out of Jerusalem.

Israel captured East Jerusalem in the 1967 Six Day War and later annexed it in a move never recognized by the international community. It sees the entire city as its capital, while the Palestinians view the eastern sector as the capital of their future state.

East Jerusalem includes highly sensitive holy sites for Christians, Muslims and Jews that are located in the Old City near Silwan.

Peace Now said in a statement that “the settlement in Silwan not only harms the prospects for a conflict-ending agreement and stability in Jerusalem, it is also cruel and evil.”

It accused Elad of “using their power and money to exhaust and impoverish the Palestinian families in legal proceedings so that they will have to agree to sell them homes.”

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