The Eviction of Al Kurd Family in Al Sheikh Jarrah as a Prelude for the Establishment of a Colonial Neighborhood in Jerusalem

The Eviction of Al Kurd Family in Al Sheikh Jarrah as a Prelude for the Establishment of a Colonial Neighborhood in Jerusalem


The so-called Israeli High Court of Justice has issued a ruling against a Jerusalemite family consisting of an elderly Palestinian man, his wife and his five children and their families. The ruling called for the eviction of the extended Palestinian family from their house in Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of Jerusalem under the pretext that the ownership of the house belongs to Israeli colonists. The family, headed by Mr. Mohammad Kamel Al Kurd, has been living in the house since 1956.  


In the year 1956 around 28 housing units were built in Al Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood for the purpose of providing housing for Jerusalemite families, including Al Kurd family. The construction of these units was carried out in cooperation between the Jordanian government represented by 'the Ministry of Construction and Development' and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees 'UNRWA.' The agreement between the two entities indicated that the Jordanian Government would offer the land for UNRWA to build the housing units in return for the resettled refugees relinquishing part of the services offered by UNRWA for them, namely food assistance. One of the most important articles of the agreement is that 3 years after building the housing units (i.e. November 15th, 1959) the estate will become owned by the family living in it.

Colonists Claim Ownership of the Land:

In 1972 Israeli Orthodox colonists filed a legal suit in the court against the residents of the houses claiming that they own the land. The colonists demanded, thus, the eviction of the Palestinian families from their homes. Upon filing the suit, house owners hired the lawyer Tusia Cohen to represent them in court. The lawyer reached a compromise (without the consent of those who hired him) with the colonists’ lawyer in which the residents of the houses were considered “protected population” on the basis of documents submitted by lawyers of the colonists. When news about this compromise broke out, the residents nullified their contract with the lawyer and hired the lawyer Husni Abu Hussien instead of Cohen in 1996.




Photo 1 & Photo 2: Picture of the targeted house in Al Sheikh Jarrah


Colonial Organizations Demand Rent and Evict Two Families:

In the aftermath of hiring Mr. Abu Hussein, a number of Israeli colonial organizations submitted orders to the residents requiring them to pay rent for the land retroactively for the benefit of these organizations. The lawyer Abu Hussein objected to the claim that the land is owned by the colonists as he provided proof that the land is owned by Mr. Hijazi Suleiman Darweesh Hijazi. As such, the only person who legally has the right to the rent is Mr. Hijazi. The lawyer also filed a petition to revoke, or at least freeze, the decision to pay rent for the colonists until the ownership is decided.


Internal Security Minister and Commander of the Jerusalem Brigade Ignore the Decision to Evacuate Settlers From Al Kurd House in Al Sheikh Jarrah:

In the year 1999 Israeli colonists seized a section of Al Kurd house while claiming that they have rented it out from Al Kurd family. The family unequivocally denied the colonists’ claim while insisting that the colonists have no legal documentation proving their false claim. The area of the seized section of the house is 78 m2. Colonists, with the help of a large number of Israeli police, used force in evicting the Palestinian family from the supposedly “rented” section of the house without any prior court permission. It is worth noting that these colonial organizations have offered Al Kurd family large sums of money in return for selling the house to them, yet to no avail. Al Kurd family filed a complaint with the Israeli High Court of Justice which in turn issued an order to evict the colonists and to allow the evicted members of Al Kurd family to return to their home. The decision is yet to be executed by the Israeli Police. The reaction of the Police vis-à-vis this issue is yet another indication of the complicity of the Police with the Israeli colonial movements trying to seize and control Palestinian property and real estates in East Jerusalem.


On June 20th, 2008 the High Court dismissed the lawsuit filed by Mr. Suleiman Hijazi to issue a proof of ownership of the land and the 28 housing units in Al Sheikh Jarrah. This dismissal has paved the way for the colonists to reclaim the land once again. In reaction, the lawyer Hatem Abu Ahmad (who managed to get an order from the Israeli High Court to evict the colonists from the house of Mr. Mohammad Kamel Al Kurd) restarted his attempts to force the Israeli Police to evict the colonists. His attempts are yet to succeed as the Police have refused such attempts more than once.   


The lawyer Abu Ahmad expressed the following: ' On February 25th, 2007 the High Court issued an order to evict the colonists and to shut down Al Kurd House. Until now, and despite numerous complaints to the Police to push them to execute the order, it was not carried out.


An Israeli Company Intends to Build 200 Colonial Units on the Ruins of 28 Palestinian Jerusalemite Houses:    

In the early days of 2008 the colonists who were claiming their ownership of Al Kurd land sold their “property” to a large investment company called Nahalat Shamo’an. In turn, the company presented plans to build 200 colonial housing units atop the ruins of the present Palestinian community.  As such, the “legal” proceedings to evict Al Kurd family were set in motion. Al Kurd’s lawyer petitioned the Magistrate Court, the District Court and the High Court on July 13th, 2008 to block the proceedings. However, all petitions were denied and flatly refused. On July 15th the lawyer petitioned the High Court yet again and requested two demands; the first was to stop the eviction proceedings against Al Kurd family while the second was to reconsider the validity of the colonists’ claim of land ownership. On July16th the Israeli High Court refused to look into the issue of Al Kurd eviction while asking for additional clarification about the lawyer’s second demand no later than July 20th, 2008. The clarifications were present at the Court within an hour after the request.


Photo 3 & Photo 4: Pictures of the targeted quarter  in Al Sheikh Jarrah


Al Sheikh Jarrah Residents: Israeli Law Favors Colonists Only:

The Committee of the Residents of Al Sheikh Jarrah considers the Israeli legal system as an easy helping tool in the hands of the Israeli government and that the Israeli judiciary system is devoid of its creditability and is designed to serve Jewish interests at the expense of Palestinian rights. The Committee also deplored the Israeli High Court's decision to evict Al Kurd family and characterized it as unfair and constitutes a dangerous precedent. The Committee also considered the decision as an introduction to seizure of the other 27 housing units in the neighborhood, confirming that the evacuation of people from their homes comes in the context of establishing a new colonial neighborhood.


The Committee called upon the international community, human rights institutions, the United Nations and the Quartet Coordinator, Mr. Tony Blair, to condemn the policy of Judaization of Jerusalem which affects Palestinian presence and livelihood in the Holy City. It also called for placing pressure on the Israeli government to stop the practices of the occupation and to stress the Palestinian right for Jerusalem to become the capital and future of the esteemed Palestinian state. The Committee also emphasized its unequivocal rejection of the decision of the so-called Israeli High Court of Justice and called on the factions and national forces in Jerusalem and the general public to address the implementation of the court's decision as a prelude for stopping its implementation.


Photo 5 & Photo 6: The Palestinain residents of Al Sheikh Jarrah staging
a sit-in in front of Al Kurd House in Al Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood.






Prepared by:
The Land Research Center