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On 1 March, Israel’s Supreme Court temporarily suspended the evictions of several Palestinian families in the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah.
Israel is in the process of carrying out land arrangements that could potentially take years before any sort of eviction occurs.
In their ruling, a three-judge panel specified that the families would be recognized as protected tenants on the condition that they pay an annual fee of 2,400 shekels ($740) to Israeli settlers. This payment will reportedly continue until the court “determines the land rights.”
The Palestinian families first received eviction notices in November of 2021, which set 1 March as the deadline for vacating their homes.
Experts believe that the supreme court ruling could work to ease tensions in Sheikh Jarrah and other neighborhoods that have seen many protests in response to the expansion of illegal Israeli settlements as well as the 11-day bombing of Gaza last year.
The lawyer representing the Palestinian families, Sami Irshid, told AFP that the decision was “significant.”
“The decision of the Supreme Court today cancels the eviction while the issue of ownership is decided … The court decides that the past decisions regarding ownership do not apply, and the residents of Sheikh Jarrah can argue their ownership and prove their ownership,” Irshid added.
In August last year, the families refused a similar deal by the Israeli courts, which said that they could retain their homes on the condition that they recognize Israeli ownership of their lands.
Forced evictions of Palestinians have been ongoing since 1972. Multiple activists have pointed out that Palestinians have been undergoing domestic displacement and ethnic cleansing since the start of the Israeli occupation in 1948.
Tensions in Sheikh Jarrah spiked once again last month after Israeli occupation forces scattered protesters who mobilized in support of families facing illegal evictions.
This took place despite international law recognition that the Israeli judicial system has no legitimate authority over the occupied territories.
An estimated 200,000 Israeli citizens reside in illegal settlements in East Jerusalem under constant police protection, with the largest settlement housing 44,000 Israelis.