Help stop the eviction of Palestinian Families from Silwan: A video and a call for action

 

In mid November, Solidarity and Rabbis for Human Rights conducted a campaign whose goal was to stop the expulsion of the Sumarin family from the house in which they have lived for over 50 years. On the 28th of November, the eviction order, signed by Himnuta, a subsidiary of the JNF, was supposed to come into force.

As published in Haaretz, the JNF announced, following the appeals made in our public campaign, that it would postpone the expulsion in order to return to dialogue with the family. Last week the courts decided to freeze the eviction order.

The mounting pressure is having a real effect. Earlier this week a JNF board member quit his position and severed all ties with the organization, unwilling to take part in such an eviction.

Himnuta-JNF was given until the 18th of December to reply the court how it intends to proceed. We already proven that a campaign targeted towards the JNF is fruitful. Help us again to pressure JNF and to make the freezing of the expulsion order permanent.

This is the time to act:

  1. Join our tours and solidarity visits:
    Hebrew Tour, this coming Friday, 16/12, 9:45 at Liberty Bell Park (Gan HaPa’amon).
    To sign up and for more info: click here
    English Tour, Monday, 19/12, 18:00 at Liberty Bell Park (Gan HaPa’amon).
    to sign up contact Moriel – 0543157781
  2.  

  3. Spread the video
  4.  

  5. Write to the JNF board of directors and demand an end to the evictions.
    For addresses and a proposed letter see below


 

Sample Letter:

Dear ___________ (select the appropriate email addresses for JNF Board Members and International Representatives below),

My name is_____. Like many other individuals and organizations around the world, I am deeply concerned by the actions of KKL-JNF (and its subsidiary company Himanutah) in East Jerusalem.

I was happy to hear recently that KKL-JNF and Himanutah decided not to evict the Sumarin family from their house in Silwan, at least for the time being. I was both relieved for the family, and pleased that for now the family’s house will not be transferred to an extremist settler organization, as has happened in the past with properties owned by KKL-JNF/Himanutah. However, the threat of eviction, while temporarily frozen, still exists. This is still your responsibility because the Sumarin house is still controlled by the JNF-KKL via Himanutah.

The JNF-KKL is a United Nations NGO that does very important environmental and ecological work in Israel. I am hopeful that the JNF-KKL and its partners now understand that it is deeply improper for the JNF-KKL to take part in advancing a highly controversial and unjust political agenda centered around the eviction of Palestinian families from their homes in Silwan and creating “facts on the ground.” By using the “Absentee Property Law” against non-Jews only, we are guilty of eifa v’eifa, double standards.  The home never should have been taken from the family, and for many years the Custodian for Absentee Property would at least award properties to family members who were living in homes taken under this law. For a brief period of time, Israel began to take inhabited properties, evict families and award them to settlers. However, following what was known as the Klugman Report (1992), a government commissioned report whose findings were sharply critical of the use of the Absentee Property Law in the East Jerusalem context, the State recognized that this policy was wrong and promised the Court to stop using it. In this case, a court has unfortunately ruled that the JNF-KKL/Himanutah may evict the family because, due to a misunderstanding, the family failed to put up a defense in 2005.

You now have the ability to right the wrong that started with the use of a law which should have never been used, continued when the Custodian failed to return the land to the family, and was capped by a miscarriage of justice when you exploited the fact that the family did not defend themselves in court in 2005.  Even then, the court never obligated Himanutah to evict the family. They simply permitted Himanutah to do so.

Now that the case is back in court, the JNF-KKL/Himanutah can go one step beyond freezing the eviction by acknowledging that Israel committed itself not to evict families via the Absentee Property Law, and by simply declining to fight the case further. You could even cooperate with a cancellation of the initial decision to declare the property as Absentee Property.

The choice between right and wrong is in your hands.

The effects are broader than this specific injustice: the settler organizations in East Jerusalem are acting to create an irreversible situation in the “Holy
Basin” that will eliminate any chance for co-existence in Jerusalem. In my eyes, if the Sumarin family is evicted, JNF-KKL/Himanutah, will become, de facto, an active partner to this frightening agenda.

I turn to you, in light of your influential role in the JNF, to ask you to put forward an official statement detailing the JNF’s intention to cancel all plans for the eviction of the Sumarin family, committing not to turn over the property to another body that might carry out the eviction, acknowledging the family as the rightful owners of the property, and announcing the cessation of Himanutah’s involvement in the purchasing properties over the green line and its cooperation with extremist settler organizations.

Sincerely,  _______