‘I will not stay quiet': Israel evicts Palestinian family from home after 45-year legal battle

Earlier this year, Israel’s Supreme Court struck down the family’s final appeal, capping a 45-year-long legal battle over their right to live in the apartment.

Published: 11th July 2023 05:44 PM  |   Last Updated: 11th July 2023 05:44 PM   |  A+A-

Activists gather outside of Nora Ghaith-Sub Laban's home after their eviction in Jerusalem's Old City, July 11, 2023. (Photo | AP)

By Associated Press

JERUSALEM: Israeli authorities on Tuesday evicted a Palestinian family from their contested apartment in Jerusalem’s Old City, the family said, capping a decades-long legal battle that has come to symbolize conflicting claims to the holy city.

Activists say the Ghaith-Sub Laban family’s eviction is part of a wider trend of Israeli settlers, backed by the government, encroaching on Palestinian neighborhoods and cementing Israeli control by seizing property in east Jerusalem. Israel describes it as a simple battle over real estate, with settlers claiming the family are squatters in an apartment formerly owned by Jews.

Earlier this year, Israel’s Supreme Court struck down the family’s final appeal, capping a 45-year-long legal battle over their right to live in the apartment.

“I will not stay quiet,” Nora Sub-Laban said. “If I find any loophole in the law, I will use it and I will sue them, because this is my right, and this is my home, and this is my land, and this is my country.”

The family says it moved into the property in the early 1950s and rented it from a “General Custodian” for abandoned properties, first under Jordanian authorities and then under Israel after the 1967 war. The case dragged on for decades, as the Israeli custodian and then the Kollel Galicia trust contested the family’s “protected” status. Among its claims was that the family did not use the property for extended periods.

Police officers came to Nora Ghaith-Sub Laban’s house in Jerusalem’s Old City early Tuesday morning, forced open the door and removed the family, said her son, Ahmad Sub-Laban. He said his family has been barred from reentering the premises.

“When we got back in front of the house, we faced the new reality that our main entrance had been closed and we don’t have the right to use it anymore,” he said. “They took the key and changed the lock.”

Several dozen protesters gathered and chanted “occupation no more” at passersby outside the house as police stood by.

Free Jerusalem, an activist group that has tried to support the family, said that police arrested 12 people who demonstrated against the eviction Tuesday morning.

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