Point of No Return has been following attempts by Jews to reclaim land and property in Jerusalem from which they were driven in the 1930s and 1940s. Now a property dispute in Sheikh Jarrah, east Jerusalem has been politicised by Hamas to stoke rioting and violence; international bodies and members of the US Congress have rushed to condemn Israel. BICOM has a good summary of the current situation:
The battle over legal ownership of several buildings in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood has been ongoing for the last 15 years in Israeli courts.
Earlier this year, the Jerusalem District Court upheld an October 2020 Jerusalem Magistrate Court decision that ruled the ownership of land belonged to the Jewish group Nahalat Shimon Co and ordered 25 Palestinians from four families to vacate properties they are living in by 2 May 2021.
Following this decision, the residents appealed to the Supreme Court, who gave both sides until 6 May to reach a compromise. They failed to do so, and the Supreme Court will make a ruling on 10 May. According to the Supreme Court, the land in question in Sheikh Jarrah, adjacent to the tomb of Shimon Hatzaddik, was “owned by Chief Rabbi (Hacham Bashi) Avraham Ashkenazi and Chief Rabbi Meir Orbach until the War of Independence , after they purchased it in 1875 from its Arab owners”.
Subsequently, two Jewish organisations, Va’ad Eidat HaSfaradim and Va’ad HaKlali L’Knesset Yisrael, worked to register the land with British Mandatory government in 1946. After the 1948 War, Palestinian families who were refugees and lost their homes inside Israel were resettled in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood by UNRWA and the Jordanian government.
Following the 1967 Six-Day War, Israeli forces captured the area and the state confiscated the homes under Israel’s Absentee Property Law. The properties were subsequently registered with Israeli authorities under the two Jewish organisations in 1973. In 2003, the land was sold to the pro-settlement group Nahalat Shimon
In 2020, the Magistrate Court noted, “Throughout all of the deliberations, the defendants claimed through their counsel that they were not tenants but rather held the property rights … apparently, as they realised that they had not convinced the Court that they were the owners of the property, the defendants claimed for the first time that they are tenants who should not be removed from their homes.”
Sensing victory, 'shabbab' turn property dispute into a major crisis (Khaled Abu Toameh, JPost)