It was the third night in Jerusalem that Palestinians clashed with Israeli Police as the tension rises over eviction of Palestinian families from parts of East Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah district. But the news can come out confusing and faded for people who are not aware of the historical incidents that turned into dramatic violence commonly known as Israeli Palestinian conflict.
In 1948, Palestinians were asked by the Zionist groups to pave the way as Israel was being formed. As the tensions were rising, thousands of Palestinians fled their homes to the neighbouring countries. This movement was popularly known as ‘Nakba’ to the Palestinians. This is where Israeli Palestinian conflict started to spark. During this movement, 28 Palestinian families in 1956 got settled in Sheikh Jarrah Neighbourhood in East Jerusalem, which then grew to 38 families.
The Israeli Central Court on East Jerusalem in 2021, approved the decision of eviction of four Palestinian families. The move was in the favour of right-wing Israeli settlers in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood. The ruling on eviction, which was scheduled for last Thursday is not extended to 10 May amid rising tension and clashes between Israeli settlers and Palestinians. But many of the readers around the globe are still unaware of how it all started. Let’s understand the beginning of this unfortunate tragedy.
It was the year 1956 when 28 Palestinian families signed an agreement with the Jordanian Ministry of Construction and Development and UN refugee agency UNRWA. The agreement was in support to provide housing for the refugees in Sheikh Jarrah. During that time, the West Bank was under the ruling of Jordan from 1951-1967. Under the agreement, the Jordanian government gave the land to Palestinians and UNRWA covered the cost to build those 28 homes for the families living there. According to the agreement, the ownership was transferred to the residents after three years of construction completion.
The agreement was then interrupted by the Israeli Occupation of the West Bank in 1967, which also included Jerusalem. This move prevented house registrations under the names of the refugees, as confirmed in a statement. And this was officially the beginning of Israeli Palestinian conflict.
In the middle of rising tension between Israeli Police Force and Palestinians, Foreign Ministry of Jordan provided the copies of 14 ratified agreement to the Palestinian Ministry of Foerign Affairs that supported the claim of the property to the 28 families, as agreed by UNRWA as well. The statement also quoted that the process was then interrupted after Israel flew their flag in the West Bank in 1967.
It was the year 1972, when known communities of Israel, popularly known as Knesset and Sephardic Committee claimed that there were the owners of the land when the houses were built initially in 1885. The case was then filed in the court by the communities in 1972 against Palestinians accusing them of land grab.
The verdict was then announced in 1976 in the favour of Palestinians after they appointed a lawyer to defend their rights. The twist came when the court gave the judgment on the basis f Israeli Land Registry Department claiming that the land belonged to Israeli settlement associations.
It was the year 1970 when the Law on Legal and Administrative Affairs was enacted. According to the law, properties lost by Jews in East Jerusalem in or before 1948, can now be reclaimed.
According to the Israeli Peace Now Movement, the law does not allow Palestinians to reclaim the land that they lost in Israel in 1948. This move sparked the debate of existing separate law for Palestinians and Jews.
The years of talks and debate in the Israeli government concluded with many cases submitted by settlement associations against Palestinians, and many appeals by Palestinians against court ruling issues in settlers’ favour.
12 Palestinian families have till now received eviction orders from the court during Israeli Palestinian conflict. During the eviction, four Palestinian families have also filed a petition with the Supreme Court against eviction while many families are facing fights and deaths. The judgment will be ruled soon. Only for the judgment, Israel will know if the Palestinians will become refugees again or they will stand their residence in East Jerusalem.