Silwan | photo: Activestills
We congratulate the Ruweidi family, the Wadi Hilweh Information Center and Peace Now on this victory
Last evening, on May 7th,2012, a ruling was delivered from the District Court inJerusalem concerned the case of the Ruweidi family from Silwan. The Court accepted the Ruweidis’ claim that their house is not “absentee property,” as the JNF-KKL/Himanutah, together with the extreme right wing settler organization ELAD, have sought to prove in court over the past two decades.
The JNF-KKL/Himanutah’s claim was based on a single, falsified declaration by a Palestinian man with no connection to the family or to Silwan, who claimed that the house’s owner died in Jordan (at a time in which Jordan was an enemy country to Israel), and therefore, according the Absentee Property Law, the State can wrest control over the property.
Of course, even if the claim of Absentee Property were correct, the law itself is discriminatory and anti-democratic at its foundations. There is no reason to apply this law inJerusalem, and certainly not exclusively against Palestinians. Additionally, the specific use of this law is based off a completely falsified document.
Despite the JNF-KKL’s wobby factual basis for their claim, the District Court initially accepted their argument. In 2010, the family, along with Peace Now, appealed to the Supreme Court, who in turn returned the case to the District Court, who ruled this time that justice is indeed on the side of the Ruweidis.
In addition, we at RHR and RHR-NA launched a letter campaign which called on Jews of the Diaspora to demand that the JNF recognize the Ruweidi family’s right to their home, and to cease it’s usage of the Absentee Property Law to take over other houses in Silwan.
We congratulate the Ruweidi family, the Wadi Hilweh Information Center and Peace Now on this victory, but we are aware that the struggle is not over, as the JNF-KKL may decide to appeal this decision again. Moreover, we are concerned as to whether this case will serve as a precedent concerning other instances of the Absentee Property Law being applied, specifically in Silwan.
It is important to note that the Sumarin family remains under threat of eviction by the JNF and its partners, through the Absentee Property Law. We call, again, on the JNF to cancel all efforts to take over the Sumarin property.