”I am a mother of six.. and we have nowhere else to go. I have lived here for 17 years. We are 27 [extended family] under this roof alone, in three small apartments. This is our home. Our community. Our everything.” – Lamya Rajabi, 37
Concerns are heightened again over the risk of forced eviction facing families in East Jerusalem. On 26 May, a hearing was scheduled at the Jerusalem District Court related to two residential buildings, comprising six apartments, in Batn Al Hawa neighborhood, in Silwan in East Jerusalem. A total of six Palestinian households, comprising 33 persons, including 19 children, two elderly women and one man with special needs, are directly affected.
The Magistrate Court already upheld their eviction orders. On 26 May, the District Court postponed the hearing over the eviction order. The families have nearly exhausted all legal remedies. Palestinian, Israeli and international activists were present in front of the court, located in Sheikh Jarrah. Israeli forces reportedly attacked and physically assaulted many of them and one Palestinian boy was reportedly arrested.
OCHA estimates that at least 970 Palestinians are at-risk of forced eviction and forcible transfer across East Jerusalem, due to cases brought before Israeli courts, primarily by Israeli settler groups; some 450 of whom are from the Batn al Hawa area alone.
“My name is Lamya Rajabi. I have six children, four daughters and two sons.
This house is under the threat of eviction and we have a court hearing on Wednesday.
Five years ago we were shocked by the court order of eviction, we have seven children and there is no alternative.
We have nowhere else to stay; though we are not leaving our homes, the court hearings keep getting appealed and we’re hoping for the best.
I have been here in this house for seventeen years.
We are twenty-seven under this roof
The house has three bedrooms
It has three apartments. We’re all from the same family, so 27 divided by three apartments under the same building.
They claim that these lands are theirs and they have lived here before 1948, and that the Palestinians have come and lived on the private properties of the Jews. So they are trying to evict the residents under legal claims that we do not know where they got them from.
We have papers of ownership but they disregarded them, they are taking the settlers papers into consideration, they have got their papers, falsified them and used it as a claim in court.
We do not deny that Jews lived here, but they were Arab Jews with who we never had an issue.
Ateret Cohanim is a settlement that has colonial purposes. They would not give the land to the indigenous Jews who lived here.”
“I have 8 children. I just gave them this pool to make up for missing Eid (holiday) vacation. They wanted the beach… but we were afraid with all the violence. We are tired. We have settlers who took the house above us, who throw rocks at us. We have Israeli police throwing tear gas, sound bombs, and live bullets. Enough. This is my house, this is my family.”
-Kayed Rajabi 34, Batan Al Hawa, East Jerusalem