World Bulletin / News Desk
A Palestinian family on Monday rejected a decision by the Israeli authorities to give their home to Ateret Cohanim, an Israeli organization devoted to creating a Jewish majority in the Old City of East Jerusalem.
"We were informed by the Israeli authorities last night that we must evacuate our home, They gave us until this morning to comply with their demand to evacuate, The occupation authorities came to us this morning, accompanied by a number of settlers, and asked us again to leave our home." resident Raafat Sab Laban told by phone.
"We've locked ourselves inside; we will neither leave nor will we allow anyone to enter," Sab Laban said, adding that eight people – including his elderly mother – had lived in the house since 1953.
"The house is under my mother's name. We rented it from the Jordanian 'Custodian of Enemy Property' in 1953 and have been living here and paying rent ever since," he added.
The Jordanian Custodian of Enemy Property institution, instated during the period of Jordanian rule of the West Bank and Jerusalem which ended in 1967, was responsible for properties that Jews claimed to have owned for a long time.
"After the Israeli occupation of Jerusalem, the family continued to pay rent for Israel's Custodian of Absentee Property," which replaced the Jordanian institution and is now responsible for property that Israel says belongs to Palestinians who don't reside in Jerusalem.
According to Sab Laban, the Ateret Cohanim Settlement Organization alleges that his family's home is vacant – a false claim that was accepted by an Israeli court, which later ruled in favor of the settlers.
It remains unclear whether the Israeli authorities will – if the family refuses to move – forcibly remove them from their home.
The East Jerusalem neighborhood of Aqabat al-Khalidiya, where the disputed property is located, is situated near the Old City's flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque.
The district contains several homes that were seized by Jewish settlers following the occupation of Jerusalem in 1967.
Israeli authorities could not be reached for comment on the Sab Laban home.
International law considers the West Bank and East Jerusalem occupied territories captured by Israel in 1967, deeming all construction of Jewish settlements on the land to be illegal.
Since its establishment 66 years ago, Israel has continued to misappropriate Palestinian land in the West Bank – on which it continues to build Jewish-only settlements – in breach of international law.
Palestinians, for their part, demand the establishment of an independent Palestinian state in the Gaza Strip and West Bank, with East Jerusalem – currently occupied by Israel – as its capital.Güncelleme Tarihi: 16 Mart 2015, 16:13