I am writing with breaking news from this week in Sheikh Jarrah.
On Tuesday, the Israeli Supreme Court ruled to annul the current expulsion orders against four Palestinian families in the neighborhood — the El-Kurd, Jaouni, Al-Qasim, and Iskafi families.
Overturning years of previous decisions, the new ruling protects the families from forced eviction for months and possibly years to come. This decision comes after a decades-long organizing campaign led by the Palestinian residents of Sheikh Jarrah to save their community.
While we celebrate this significant step, the struggle in Sheikh Jarrah is far from over. The families are protected from immediate expulsion, but the court left it up to the Ministry of Justice to review property rights over the land, meaning the threat of dispossession continues to loom large. Other families in the neighborhood and throughout Jerusalem still face the imminent displacement, though some believe this ruling could set a precedent for dozens of other cases in Sheikh Jarrah, Silwan and beyond. And the brutality of the occupation remains in full force — on Wednesday police closed off Sheikh Jarrah with metal barriers, preventing some journalists from entering, while protecting an ultra-nationalist settler rally protesting the court’s ruling.
Nevertheless, this is an inspiring reminder of what can be achieved through the powerful combination of grassroots mobilization and international pressure. The four families affected by the ruling made clear in their joint statement [below] that they do not expect justice to come from Israeli courts, writing: “We count on the popular and global movements that have accomplished the unprecedented feat of forcing the court to cancel the imminent expulsion.”
Keeping our eyes on Sheikh Jarrah and the rest of Jerusalem is crucial. As we have seen this week, the power of our attention can make a difference.
Deputy Director, Just Vision
A statement by Sheikh Jarrah Neighborhood Units
in response to the Occupation’s Supreme Court ruling.
On March 1, 2022, the Occupation’s Supreme Court ruled to annul the expulsion orders
issued against four families in Sheikh Jarrah (laouni, Al-Qasim, El-Kurd, and Iskafi) and
defer the review of property rights over the land (Karm Al-laouni) to “title settlement and
The battle to solidify our rights in our lands and our homes is far from over-rather, it has
started anew. The Occupation authorities weaponize “land settlement and registration” as a tool to control land in occupied Jerusalem. We reaffirm: our cause is righteous and we will continue in our fight.
We know we will not receive justice from Israeli Occupation courts. Rather, we count on the popular and global movements that have accomplished the unprecedented feat of forcing the court to cancel the imminent expulsion.
Yet, the threat of dispossession is still looming over our community. Through this decision,
the Occupation’s Supreme Court imposed on the four families the status of “protected
tenant,” a special legal status in which families deposit an annual amount to a trust account held by the lawyers until the “title settlement and registration” procedures are complete.
However, such procedures can take anywhere between months to years. Therefore, we must rely on continual and persistent grassroots efforts until this battle is officially over and our families — and all Palestinian families — can live in their homes without fear of expulsion.
The Occupation’s Supreme Court would not have ruled in this direction had it not been for
the thousands of Palestinians who participated in the “Unity Uprising,” and the global
movement against ethnic cleansing in Palestine. We thank everyone who has contributed to this movement so far, and call on the local and global community to apply more pressure and resistance to dispossession in Sheikh Jarrah and across all of Palestine. We also thank the team of lawyers for their tireless efforts over the years in defending the people of our neighborhood.