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Take Action: Tell the JNF not to evict Palestinians from East Jerusalem

47 Comments 23 November 2011

By activestills | Photo by: Oren Ziv/ Activestills.org | Silwan neighborhood, Jerusalem

On November 28th, a Palestinian family, the Sumarins, will be evicted from their home in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan. To expel this family of twelve – including 5 children, a pregnant mother, and a grandfather on dialysis– would both be unjust and risk inflaming Arab-Jewish relations in Jerusalem.

To our great dismay, we learned of the direct connection between the Jewish National Fund in Israel (JNF-KKL) and Himnuta, a wholly-owned JNF subsidiary that is behind the plans to evict the family. For further details about the case, please go to RHR’s accompanying fact sheet. The short version is this: the Israeli government exploited the fact that in 1983, when the original homeowner, Musa Sumarin, died, the people living in the house were not deemed by the state to be the direct “heirs.” Therefore, the government transferred ownership of the house to the Custodian of Absentee Properties. The Custodian, rather than returning the property to the family, chose to transfer ownership to Himnuta, along with seven other properties in Silwan. Himnuta then chose to wage a court battle to evict the Sumarin family. Past experience indicates the Himnuta will, following the eviction of the Sumarins, most likely transfer the property to the settlers and ELAD, an organization of radical Jewish settlers whose explicit radical political agenda, as expressed as in their articles of incorporation is the “Judaization (i.e., the de-Arabization) of East Jerusalem.”

As Israeli rabbis who are deeply concerned both with Israel’s security and with the human rights of all people living under Israel’s control, we in RHR urge you to take action to stop JNF’s Himnuta subsidiary from evicting the Sumarin family from their home.  The family has been living in this house for more than four decades.  JNF, as a group concerned with the well-being of the State of Israel, must act to prevent this injustice. The JNF does much work that is admirable, and should not sully itself by betraying its founding commitment to only obtain land fairly. This act does not reflect the will of those Jews who have put their pennies the little blue boxes for several generations.

We only have a few days!

Please copy the text below — or write your own letter — and send it to the JNF representative in your country (please CC us for statistical purposes: info@rhr.israel.net)

To:

TO: rrobinson@jnf.org ; info@kkl-ch.ch ;  sharon@beyachad.co.za ; federalO@jnfaustralia.com.au ; berlin@jnf-kkl.de ; nadine@kkl.fr ; samuel@jnf.co.uk ; frankw@tes.net ; EfiS@kkl.org.il  

Stop the eviction of the Sumarin family

I write to you as someone who is deeply concerned both with Israel’s security and with the human rights of all people living under Israel’s control. I urge you to exert your influence to stop Himnuta, an organization owned entirely by the JNF/KKL, from evicting the twelve members of the Sumarin family, including five children, a pregnant mother, and a grandfather on dialysis, from their house in Silwan in East Jerusalem. The JNF/KKL took possession of the family home by unfairly exploiting Israel’s Absentee Property Law, and has then pursued a legal case to evict the family. The eviction may be “legal” according to Israeli law but it is not just, and is a violation of both Jewish and human rights law. The Sumarin family has been living in their home for more than forty years. Jewish law goes to great lengths to prevent evictions, especially in cases in which those evicted will end up “abandoned on the street,” in the words of Moses Maimonides. The laws being used to evict the Sumarin family are only applied towards Arabs and Palestinians, violating the Jewish tradition’s demand to have one law for all, not to oppress the stranger and not to act eifah v’eifah, with a double standard. International law includes significant protections against displacement. For example, the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the body of independent experts that monitors the implementation of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), has declared that “instances of forced eviction are prima facie incompatible with the requirements of the Covenant and can only be justified in the most exceptional circumstances, and in accordance with the relevant principles of international law.” As a person committed to a lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians, I also believe that the evictions of Palestinians from East Jerusalem constitute an obstacle to peace. I ask you to urge Himnuta to stop the eviction of the Sumarin family from its home. With prayers of peace and justice for Jerusalem.

Sincerely,

Your Comments

47 Comments so far

  1. Carolyn R. Swift says:

    Jews must live with Palestinians, not evict them from their homes.

  2. Carolyn R. Swift says:

    Ha Shem expects Jews to be just to others, not to evict them from their homes.

  3. vera de ruvo says:

    I RECALL A RABBI WHO SAID THAT, EVEN IF THE END RESULT IS GOOD, IF THE WAY OF OBTAINING THAT RESULT IS UNGODLY, THE RESULT WILL NOT BE REACHED.
    FOR THE GROWTH OF A JEWISH PRESENCE IN E. JERUSALEM, HIMNUTA IS ACTING IN AN INHUMANE, HEARTLESS WAY TOWARDS THE SUMARIN FAMILY.
    THE NUMBER OF YEARS THEY HAVE LIVED IIN THEIR HOME,TH NUMBER OF FAMILY MEMBER WHO WOULD BECOME HOMELESS, SHOULD SUPERCEDE THE WILL OF THE RADICAL HIMNUTA.
    ADD TO THAT, WHAT KIND OF P.R. THAT WOULD CREATE, WORLDWIDE.?
    THE END DOES NOT JUSTIFY THE MEANS, IN THIS CASE.

  4. Brian King says:

    The Jewish Faith teaches many things – compassion, justice – so please remember this and make sure that this family who have lived in this home for many years are treated with compassion and ensure that they may remain in their house undisturbed.

  5. David Rubinger says:

    Disgusted by perverted Jewish values

  6. Charles Lutz says:

    Stop the eviction of the Sumarin family

    I write to you as someone who is deeply concerned both with Israel’s security and with the human rights of all people living under Israel’s control. I urge you to exert your influence to stop Himnuta, an organization owned entirely by the JNF/KKL, from evicting the twelve members of the Sumarin family, including five children, a pregnant mother, and a grandfather on dialysis, from their house in Silwan in East Jerusalem. The JNF/KKL took possession of the family home by unfairly exploiting Israel’s Absentee Property Law, and has then pursued a legal case to evict the family. The eviction may be “legal” according to Israeli law but it is not just, and is a violation of both Jewish and human rights law. The Sumarin family has been living in their home for more than forty years. Jewish law goes to great lengths to prevent evictions, especially in cases in which those evicted will end up “abandoned on the street,” in the words of Moses Maimonides. The laws being used to evict the Sumarin family are only applied towards Arabs and Palestinians, violating the Jewish tradition’s demand to have one law for all, not to oppress the stranger and not to act eifah v’eifah, with a double standard. International law includes significant protections against displacement. For example, the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the body of independent experts that monitors the implementation of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), has declared that “instances of forced eviction are prima facie incompatible with the requirements of the Covenant and can only be justified in the most exceptional circumstances, and in accordance with the relevant principles of international law.” As a person committed to a lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians, I also believe that the evictions of Palestinians from East Jerusalem constitute an obstacle to peace. I ask you to urge Himnuta to stop the eviction of the Sumarin family from its home. With prayers of peace and justice for Jerusalem.

    Sincerely,

    • phyllis Ehrlich says:

      As an older person who stood with pride holding a blue box for many years, I now stand with sadness to see JNF not save but destroy.

  7. Sophia Chatov says:

    The JNF does much work that is admirable, and should not sully itself by betraying its founding commitment to only obtain land fairly. The planned eviction is a violation of both human rights and the teaching of our Jewish tradition. Shame on you!

  8. Thank you all for the support. Together we can bring the chage!

    Mati Shemoelof

    Director of Online Communications

    Rabbis For Human Rights

  9. Nathan F. Cogan says:

    RHR’s position is not frivolous. PLease, leaders and officers in JNF, take the time to read and understand what you are doing. JNF needs to take the high moral road by desisting; indeed JNF and Himnuta will desecrate G-d’s name with the eviction of the Silwan family.

    Sincerely urged,
    Professor Nathan Cogan
    Portland, Oregon

  10. Anne Cushman says:

    The plight of this Palestinian family reminds me of a saying that is helpful when hard decisions must be made: “There is no right way to do the wrong thing.”

    God’s justice and God’s mercy are for all people at all times.

  11. David Roth says:

    I have supported JNF in the past, but will certainly not continue to do so if this policy of evicting Palestinians from their homes goes ahead.
    Please allow the Sumarin family to stay where they have been living.

    Thank you

    David Roth

  12. hans zilversmit says:

    shame ..a state that allows to evict these people
    hans zilversmit/publisher /amsterdam

  13. Dr. Theodor Much says:

    One should not treat others in ways that one would not like to be treated (The Golden Law by Rab. Hillel)

  14. Don Blumberg says:

    What kind of world do you want the
    Jews to live in; with peace, justice and humanity or war, injustice and inhumanity. What is good for the Jews must be good for all

  15. James McGown says:

    RHR is right to oppose the uprooting of this Palestinian family from its home. When will the current Israeli government realize that in ignoring the call of the prophets to justice and kindness, they are compromising the future of Israel? Fair and humane treatment of the Palestinian people ensures the future of Israel not destruction of their lives.

  16. Rabbi Stanley Howard Schwartz, D.D. says:

    It appalls me and disgusts me that any Jew would attempt to force anyone from Jerusalem. IT is against Jewish ethics, Israeli morality, and universal concepts of justice.

  17. Even in these dark times, moderate voices call out for justice and compassion. This is a real comfort to us here. Please support this non-violent campaign to put an end to repression, dispossession, and violence in Jerusalem. Write letters. Demand better answers from the JNF about its role in destroying the lives of Palestinians on both sides of the Green Line. Urge your community leaders and elected officials to take a stand. Make a contribution to the organizations whose volunteers are at the front lines of the struggle against institutional racism in Israel and Palestine.

  18. Ronda Cooperstein says:

    It is shameful that Palestinians are still deprived of their equal rights. Palestinian families are no different from Jewish families and until Israel respects, honors and protects the rights of all human beings on the land, there will be no peace. Jews who understand this, who know in their hearts that all humans are one family, cannot stay silent. NO to evictions and all other destruction of property and disregard for human rights.

  19. David Rubinger says:

    KKL’s reply smells of rotten self righteousness. “We wash our hands of all injustices. Amen”.
    Any person with even a slimmer of a sense for justice, would have to think a dozen times before donating a cent to a body that acts this way.

  20. Diana Lodge says:

    The cruelty and utter immorality of the persecution of this family, and so many others, is obvious. Those in power in Israel, and the bulk of citizens who support them, apparently believe that it’s worth behaving like this in order to create ‘facts on the ground’. They seem to think that all this horror will be forgotten in a generation or so. Not so. When James I created ‘facts on the ground’ in Northern Ireland by planting Protestant Scottish settlers there, he doubtless thought he was dealing with Catholic resistance very cleverly. Nearly four hundred years later, the problems he caused remain unsolved. Israel is surrounded by Arab states, so, quite apart from being true to your alleged values, wouldn’t it be common sense to treat them as you yourselves would like to be treated?

  21. LADYSB says:

    The Israelis are suposed to be smart people.:I dont understand how they continue to behave so stupidly..This eviction, apart from the trauma to the family, will simply add fuel to the fire of the Intifada.

  22. Aaron Allen says:

    The JNF and its ‘subsidary’ Himnuta shudn’t be operating in Palestine! What right
    from does one nation have to sell/convey the ownership or leasehold to ‘its peo ple’ from the long-term, legally-established property owners…The early missions
    of JNF and other ‘finders’ were understandable–obtaining homesites for early
    aliyafolk who had been abused in Europe…Today, such ‘homesteading-by-theft’
    sucks–no matter what Palestine’s enemies say…There shud be NO enclave-plots-
    without-free-easement. Local, native farmers shud not need to appeal to enemy GIs for access to their lands…When the initial treaty matters are agreed, these tra-
    ditions will end: Any price-taggers and hill-toppers who strike after that will find
    themselves uninvited, unwitting participants in the ‘Pal Archery Program’…Theft,
    vandalism, and other such crimes will stop immediately!..Aaron Allen…

  23. Edith Finell says:

    Do not evict!

  24. Edith Finell says:

    D not evict!

  25. Therese Walrath says:

    Where is your compassion, the mercy you want others to show to you? Have you forgotten that “As you sow so shall you reap”? How do you want your children and grandchildren to be treated?

  26. Tal Annelie and Elchanan says:

    We are fervently against uprooting palestinians from their homes in Jerusalem.

  27. Tal Annelie and Elchanan says:

    we are fervently against uprooting palestinians from their homes in Jerusalem!!!

  28. eran and Ilana Brin says:

    Please postpone eviction after that of the settlers in the ilegal outposts (maahazim). After all we claim we are not discriminants or racists.

  29. Enid Gordon says:

    I respect and admire the Jewish faith and traditions. Why then are Jewish people allowing Jewish extremists in East Jerusalem to evict Palestinians from their homes simply because they are not Jewish. I am not Jewish but I feel ashamed on behalf of my Jewish friends, just as I feel ashamed that as an English Christian there are English Christians who support what is going on in East Jerusalem. When will we all learn the art of compassion for those in need of our love and concern?

  30. la martina al por mayor says:

    Hi,great post and perspective. As you point out the potential strain on B of A, I think we all hope they know what they’re doing. Rescuing them, it seems, would be the back-breaker.

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Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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