|Yesterday, the Execution Office delivered notices of eviction to both the Duweik and Shweiki families (total of eight nuclear families), according to which they must vacate their homes in Batan al-Hawa, Silwan within 20 days of the notice's receipt (by 19 December 2020). According to the notice, if the families do not vacate their homes within the specified time-frame, they will be subject to forcible removal from their homes by 3 January 2021.
Immediate intervention is needed to block the displacement of a total of 45 people, at imminent risk of losing their homes in Batan al-Hawa in just over 30 days.
Delivery of the eviction notices comes swiftly after the Jerusalem District Court rejected both families' appeals over the past two weeks, ruling on behalf of the Ateret Cohanim settler organization. The families still intend to submit an appeal to the Israeli Supreme Court, however, there is no guarantee the court will agree to hear the appeal.
Through its management of the Benvenisti Trust - a Jewish trust which held title to properties in the late 19th and early 20th centuries in Batan al-Hawa- Ateret Cohanim is advancing mass eviction proceedings against Palestinian families in the area based on exploitation of the Legal and Administrative Matters Law of 1970. This discriminatory legal mechanism enables Jews to reclaim assets lost during the war of 1948 via the Israel General Custodian, while no parallel legal provision exists for Palestinians who lost property in West Jerusalem. See Ir Amim’s and Peace Now’s joint report, “Broken Trust” for further details and analysis.
Since 2015, 14 families have already lost their homes with over 80 other households facing eviction lawsuits filed by Ateret Cohanim, placing some 600-700 individuals of one community at risk of displacement.
If Ateret Cohanim is successful, Batan al-Hawa (number 25 on map below) is anticipated to become the largest settler enclave in a Palestinian neighborhood in the Old City Basin, with the outcome of significantly tightening the emerging ring of state-sponsored settlement activity around the Old City and severely undermining the possibility of a future political resolution on Jerusalem.