What You Need To Know About What Is Happening in Sheikh Jarrah

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The event surrounding the eviction of palestinian Arabs from homes in Sheikh Jarrah is not just making the international news and consuming the social media feeds of high profile politicians and celebrities (unanimously in support of the evicted palestinian Arabs)



it is precipitating a fresh round of violence.

While the visuals play into the false narrative of big, bad Israel stealing land from poor, defenseless palestinians, the truth is something else entirely – and not being widely reported, if reported at all.

And just as I was about to put finger to keyboard, I saw a very well written and accurate summation. Here is an excerpt of the main points, but I encourage you to read the entire piece.

sheikh jarrah demo
Photo: Amir Bitan, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

“Sheik Jarrah” is an Arab neighborhood that was established in 1865. And before 1949, there was a separate Jewish neighborhood within it. For about 2000 years before that, this area was known by the name “Shimon HaTzadik” (Simon the Righteous), named after the famous rabbinical sage whose tomb is located there.

For centuries, the Jewish presence in the area revolved around the tomb of Shimon HaTzadik, who was famously one of the last members of the Great Assembly (HaKnesset HaGedolah), the governing body of the Jewish people during the Second Jewish Commonwealth (after the Babylonian Exile).

Because of the tomb and its significance to the Jewish people, the Sephardic Community Committee and the Ashkenazi Assembly of Israel purchased the tomb and its surrounding land (about 4.5 acres) in 1875. Shortly thereafter, it, along with the neighborhood of Kfar Hashiloah in the Silwan area of Jerusalem, became home to many, mostly Yemenite, Jews who had migrated to Jerusalem (Zion) back in 1881. Notably, by 1844, Jews were the largest ethnic population in Jerusalem.

Between 1936 and 1938, and then again in 1948, the British Empire assisted Arabs, incited by raw-Jew hatred, in ripping Jews from their homes  in Shimon HaTzadik (and in Kfar Hashiloah). The Yemeni Jewish community was also expelled from Silwan, for “their own safety,” by the British Office of Social Welfare. Essentially, the British preferred to force Jews out of their own homes rather than expend the resources to protect Jewish families and their property rights in Jerusalem.

Then, in 1949, after TransJordan (now Jordan) invaded Israel as part of an express attempt by the entire Arab League to destroy Israel and “push the Jews into the sea,” TransJordan’s British-created and British-led Arab Legion captured Judea and Samaria, all of the Old City of Jerusalem and many of its surrounding neighborhoods, including the Shimon HaTzadik neighborhood. Then the Arab Legion either killed or ethnically cleansed every last Jew. Not one was allowed to remain. Not one. Even those whose families had lived in the region for centuries before the Arab invasion in the seventh century.

After Israel gained control of all of Jerusalem from the Jordan during the Six Day War, Israel passed a law that allows Jews whose families had been forced out of their homes by the Jordanians or the British to regain control of their family homes if they could provide proof of ownership and the current residents could not provide proof of a valid purchase or transfer of title.  All of the homes that are the subject of these 2021 eviction proceedings, in addition to being on land purchased in 1875 by the Jewish community, were owned by Jewish families that had purchased those homes, and had deeds registered first with the Ottoman Empire (which governed the region from 1517 to 1917) and then with the British authorities (who controlled the area from 1917 to 1948).

These four houses, subject to the pending eviction notice, have already been the subject of extensive litigation in District Court in Israel, with appeals going all the way up to Israel’s very liberal Supreme Court and with all parties receiving representation and due process. The Court determined that these homes must be returned to their legal owners this week and that another four homes shall be returned to their legal owners by the end of the summer. The court further determined that the people currently living in these homes had been illegally squatting in these homes for decades without paying rent or holding proof of ownership.

As I said, read the entire thing.

I would just add one more thing. The same Israeli courts that have ruled to evict the palestinian Arabs based on law have also ruled to evict Jewish families from places like Amona. So any talk of double standards or apartheid is completely false.

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A law school graduate, David Lange transitioned from work in the oil and hi-tech industries into fulltime Israel advocacy. He is a respected commentator and Middle East analyst who has often been cited by the mainstream media