Israeli Activists Support Palestinian Family Threatened with Home Eviction in Jerusalem

JERUSALEM, March 22, 2015 (WAFA) – Dozens of Israeli activists Sunday demonstrated in solidarity with the Palestinian Jerusalemite family, Sub Laban, whose members have been threatened with eviction from their rented home in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Aqabat al-Khalidiya.

The activists chanted anti-occupation slogans such as “no to occupation,” and ‘no to settlements.”

During a previous interview with WAFA, house’s owner, Ahmad Sub Laban, said his family rented the house in 1956 from Jordan’s then Custodian of Enemy Property (CEP), 11 years before Israel occupied the eastern part of Jerusalem. The house was originally owned by Jewish migrants before the CEP assumed control of Jewish-owned property upon the Israeli-Arab war in 1948.

The Jordanian Custodian of Enemy Property was established to handle property taken from Jews in the West Bank in 1948. In 1967, this function was disbanded.

However, the Sub Laban family is renting the property as protected tenants. According to the law, a protected lease in Israel gives the tenants certain privileges such as paying the rent at a fixed rate unlike the market price at around 10 to 20% of the actual price.

A protected lease also means that the family is protected from eviction even after the rental contract has elapsed, and they are entitled to transfer their rights to other tenants and to receive substantial compensation in return.

The family of eight, including two children aged 9 and 2, are being evicted by court order from the Israeli Magistrate Court so as to make way for a Jewish settler family to move in.

According to Avaas – The world in action, dozens of Palestinian families in occupied East Jerusalem who carry the status of protected persons under International Humanitarian Law were forcefully evicted by the Israeli authorities to make way for Israeli settlers to move in.

In 2010, the Israeli Guardian of Absentee Property passed the ownership of the property to Ateret Cohanim, an Israeli settler organization with the publicly declared aim of creating a Jewish majority in the Muslim Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem.

Ateret Cohanim petitioned the Israeli Magistrate’s Court requesting the eviction of the family claiming that the family has deserted the house and thus lost their protected tenancy status.

The Israeli Magistrate court issued an eviction order in September 2014 based on testimonies of Israeli settlers that want to take over the neighborhood.

To be noted, this is the third attempt to evict the Sub Laban family. It is awaiting a court’s decision on the May 31 regarding a previous appeal submitted by the family against the eviction order issued by the Magistrate Court.

‘All of the apartments around us and even in our own building are now inhabited by Jewish settlers,’ the family’s son Rafat Sub Laban told WAFA during an interview at the home. ‘In the 1970s and 80s they started taking them over one by one, and now we are the only Palestinians left here.’