By Mel Pearlman

Sheikh Jarrah: Property dispute or provocation to war?


As Hamas creates a war crime with every rocket it fires into Israel solely for the purpose of killing civilians, a biased media, along with supposedly creditable human rights organizations, BDS backers, Students for Justice in Palestine and naive progressives including many progressive Jews, are accusing Israel of provoking the current breakout of hostilities by another false accusation of Israeli apartheid of Arabs

This latest provocation, according to these purveyors of false accusations against Israel is the alleged attempt to arbitrarily evict four Arab families from a small neighborhood outside the Old City, but within the city limits of Jerusalem.

This latest false accusation of Israeli apartheid, like all the others before it, misrepresents what, in fact, is a lawful pursuit through the Israeli courts of a real property dispute between an Israeli landlord and Arab tenants.

According the International Legal Forum, an Israel-based legal network of over 3,500 lawyers and activists in 30 different countries, who are not counsel to any of the parties in this dispute, the issues in the case are complex dating back to the Ottoman Republic and the British Mandate.

As reported by the ILF, the [court records] indicate that “the land in question was purchased by the local Ashkenazi and Sephardi communities from their Arab owners in 1875, primarily because of the area’s religious significance in housing the tomb of ‘Simeon the Just.’ The property was registered in the Ottoman land registry as a trust under the name of Rabbis Avraham Ashkenazi and Meir Auerbach.”

After the dismantling of the Ottoman Republic at the end of the World War I, the property fell under the auspices of first the British Mandate, and during the Israel War of Independence under the truce lines established in 1948 under the government of Transjordan. Jews were forcibly evicted from the property and the property was leased to Arab families.

According to the ILF Report, when Israel regained the territory in the Six Day War and Jerusalem was again reunited under Israeli sovereignty, the Israeli government “passed a law allowing Jews whose families were evicted by Jordanian or British authorities in the city prior to 1967, to reclaim their property, provided they could demonstrate proof of ownership and the existing residents were unable to provide such proof of purchase or legal transfer of title. In 1973, ownership of the property was registered by Sephardic Community Committee and the Knesset Israel Committee with Israeli authorities pursuant to the above law.”

In the initial lawsuit filed in 1982 seeking eviction, the Palestinian families were permitted to continue occupancy on the basis they fell under a provision of the law known as “Protected Tenant Status,” conditioned on keeping rent payments current, maintaining the property, and recognizing the then current Jewish ownership.

The current eviction litigation was initiated in 1993 by the then current Jewish owners for non-payment of rent and unapproved changes to the property.

This litigation has lingered in the courts over these many years based on spurious claims of Arab ownership. These claims were fully litigated under due process by Israel’s lower courts, and was pending appeal in the Supreme Court when the riots broke out falsely claiming these families were victims of Israel apartheid.

Hamas, seeing an opportunity to step in as the champion of all Palestinian Arabs, partially used the apartheid ruse to rain rockets on the citizens of Israel. Unfortunately, a biased media, along with supposedly creditable human rights organizations, BDS backers, Students for Justice in Palestine and naive progressives including many progressive Jews, are buying into these false accusations against Israel.

For a more complete discussion of the case I refer you to the ILF Report which can be found at

If you wish to comment or respond you can reach me at Please do so in a rational, thoughtful, respectful and civil manner.

Mel Pearlman holds B.S. & M.S. degrees in physics as well as a J.D. degree and initially came to Florida in 1966 to work on the Gemini and Apollo space programs. He has practiced law in Central Florida since 1972. He has served as president of the Jewish Federation of Greater Orlando; was a charter board member, first vice president and pro-bono legal counsel of the Holocaust Memorial Resource and Education Center of Central Florida, as well as holding many other community leadership positions.


Reader Comments(0)


Powered by ROAR Online Publication Software from Lions Light Corporation
© Copyright 2023

Rendered 07/08/2023 07:58