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Sheikh Jarrah families facing eviction threat reject Israel court’s compromise deal

Palestinian activist Muna al-Kurd (C) stands with her neighbors at a press conference in the East al-Quds neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah on November 2, 2021. (Photo by AP)

Palestinian families facing the threat of forced eviction from their homes in the East al-Quds neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah have rejected an Israeli court’s so-called conflict resolution proposal that would enable Israeli settlers to eventually confiscate their land in 15 years.

The four families were required by Israel’s supreme court to respond by Tuesday to the proposal, put forward in August, under which they would be offered “protected tenancy status” for a 15-year period in return for accepting that their land belongs to the Israeli Nahlat Shimon settler organization.

At a press conference on Tuesday, the families dismissed the offer as a plot devised by the occupying regime to temporarily put off their eviction and eventually confiscate their land.

“We the families of Sheikh Jarrah rejected the compromise offered to us by the court of the occupation which considers us as protected tenants renting from the settlers organization of Nahalat Shimon and which will lead to confiscate our right in our lands,” the families said in a statement on Tuesday.

They expressed their firm determination to stand by their refusal to compromise on their rights, despite a lack of institutional guarantees that would protect their presence as Palestinians in occupied al-Quds.

The four families said their decision sprang from “our belief in the justice of our cause and our right to our homes and our homeland,” and that they would rely on the “Palestinian street” to raise international awareness of their plight instead of yielding to an “unjust agreement.”

Meanwhile, Sheikh Jarrah resident Muna al-Kurd said the Israeli judiciary “is circumventing its obligation to issue a final decision, and is making us choose between dispossession and submitting to an unjust agreement.”

“We won’t allow Israel to market itself as a just occupation at our expense,” al-Kurd added.

Israel has been attempting for months to expel four Palestinian families in the occupied Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood to make way for its settlers, despite the fact that the Palestinians have been living in the area for generations.

The controversial eviction ruling, which was initially expected in May, was postponed when Israeli attorney general Avichai Mandelblit requested more time to study the case in the wake of daily protests and sit-ins.

At the time, Israeli forces violently dispersed the protests by using tear gas, sound bombs and rubber bullets.

The Sheikh Jarrah protests coincided with a decision by the Israeli regime to ban gatherings in the Muslim holy month of Ramadan at the Damascus Gate of the Old City of al-Quds, and riots by far-right Jewish groups.

The escalations further intensified after Israeli forces raided the al-Aqsa Mosque compound, several times during Ramadan, wounding hundreds of Palestinians.

The raids prompted Palestinian resistance fighters in the Gaza Strip to respond to Israeli acts of aggression, and fire retaliatory rockets into Israeli-occupied territories.

The Israeli army then launched a devastating 11-day offensive on the besieged Palestinian coastal enclave that killed at least 260 Palestinians, including 66 children.

The four Palestinian families in Sheikh Jarrah have requested that Israel’s supreme court hear an appeal on their case.

The threatened Sheikh Jarrah expulsions have drawn international attention and sparked global outrage.

Israeli authorities have given the green light to the seizure of thousands square meters of Palestinian-owned land in Sheikh Jarrah, as the Tel Aviv regime continues with its land grab policies in the occupied territories despite the international outcry against its land eviction policies.

Saleh Diab, a Palestinian activist, told Palestine’s official Wafa news agency on Monday that Israel’s High Court of Justice issued an order on Sunday for the seizure of over 4,700 square meters of land belonging to four Palestinian families from the neighborhood with the aim of turning it into a public park.

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