|On April 26, the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court handed down its decision, accepting the appeal filed by the Salem family against their pending eviction from their home in Sheikh Jarrah. In his ruling, the judge ordered that the case return to the Enforcement and Collection Authority, the Israeli body responsible for issuing eviction orders and executing them, for more comprehensive deliberations on the family’s core legal arguments. As such, the injunction on the family’s eviction order remains in place.
As reported previously, the Salem family filed an appeal against the decision of the Enforcement and Collection Authority’s registrar from late January 2022, which authorized the family’s eviction and granted approval for an eviction order with a flexible execution date between March-April 2022. The hearing on the appeal took place at the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court on Monday.
According to the appeal, the registrar failed to adequately address and deliberate on the family’s key arguments and likewise determined facts without allowing for a full examination of the claims. One of the family’s principal arguments is that the 1988 court ruling upon which the eviction order was based is not valid; little to no measures were taken to enforce the verdict over the past 34 years, while the alleged property owners continued to receive rental payments from the Salem family. Moreover, since the original case files were incinerated, the eviction order is only based on a notarized hand-written statement asserting to have seen the actual verdict. However, the notary admitted to have signed the document without having the original court ruling in his possession at the time of notarization.
While the Magistrate’s Court’s decision is a welcomed provisional reprieve, it does not eliminate the threat of eviction. The family’s legal recourse is still extremely limited, and therefore the only real effective means of preventing the family's displacement is through state intervention.
The Salem family is among some 70 families, numbering over 300 individuals, in Sheikh Jarrah alone who face eviction by settler groups working in close collaboration with state bodies to expand Jewish settlement in the area. Following the recent Supreme Court decision which froze the evictions of the Jaouni, Al Kurd, Askafi and Qassem families from the eastern side of Sheikh Jarrah (Kerem al-Jaouni), Nahalat Shimon filed a request on April 14 for a rehearing before an expanded panel of Supreme Court justices in an attempt to overturn the ruling. A decision on the request is still pending.