High Court Rejects Eviction Appeal of Arab Squatters
Shimon HaTzaddik Synagogue in Sheikh Jarrah

The High Court of Justice on Thursday rejected the appeal of an Arab family from Sheikh Jarrah in eastern Jerusalem, about 1.5 miles from the Old City, for yet another hearing, before an expanded panel of justices, on a decision to evict the family from its illegally acquired home — in favor of its Jewish owners.

The Sabag family of about 40 which lives in one building in the neighborhood, received an eviction order from the Execution Office which will take effect in 11 days. The family has lived there since 1956. Their house was built on lands that were owned by Jews before the 1948 War of Independence.

In 2003, the Jewish land redemption corporation Nahalat Shimon acquired the land from the Sephardi Community Committee and the Ashkenazi Community Committee, which were registered as owners of the land.

Two months ago, the High Court rejected the family's last appeal to reopen the issue of Jewish ownership of the land. The request was based on documents obtained by the family's attorney, Sami Arshid, from the Ottoman archives in Turkey. But Justices Dafna Barak-Erez, Yael Wilner and Alex Stein did not discuss the request at all, but instead rejected it because of obsolescence, since the registration of the land was made many years ago.

Court President Esther Hayut rejected the new appeal because it offered no new information that would justify another hearing. The court president's decision opens the way for the family's evacuation.

According to Ha'aretz, which quotes anti-settlement activists, the latest move by the court is likely to lead to the evacuation of additional families from the neighborhood, seeing as the Sabags' "documents from Turkey" shtick was considered the best tactic against the eviction.

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