In the Old City of Jerusalem, Nora Gaith (68) and Mostafa Sub Laban (72) are awaiting the enforcement of a recent Israeli court decision to forcibly expel them from their home. June 11 was the date the Israeli authorities gave to the family to voluntarily leave their home, the latter refuse and continue to stay there. However, similar to the experience of other Palestinian families in the past, the Sub Laban family expects the court decision to be violently and brutally carried out at any moment.
The expulsion of the elderly couple will make way for Israeli settlers to take over their home located in the Muslim Quarter of the Old City.
For more than four decades, the Sub Laban family has been embroiled in a legal battle against both, settler groups and Israeli apartheid authorities, to expel them and seize their home. The Sub Laban family has been living in their home since 1953 as protected tenants according to Jordanian Law. In 1976 the plight of the Sub Laban family started when the Israeli authorities claimed that the Sub Laban home belongs to a Jewish family that used to live in the house before the creation of Israel in 1948.
The Sub Laban family was not alone in grappling with Israel’s settler greed to take over Palestinian homes in Jerusalem. In the late 1970s, Israeli authorities together with settler groups expelled the two Palestinian families that used to live near the house of the Sub Laban family. Although the family was not expelled at that time, they have been subjected to constant settler harassment, emboldened by the Israeli authorities. As part of several attempts to force the family from their homes, in 2010, Israel’s occupation authorities in Jerusalem declared that the house ownership belongs to a settler organization called“Ateret Cohanim”.
Ateret Cohanim, previously called Atara Leyoshna, is an Israeli settler organization founded in the 1970s for the sole aim of pillaging Palestinian homes and property in Jerusalem.
Since its inception, the association has been connected with the Israeli military. The organization was founded through the efforts of Matityahu HaCohen Dan, a veteran of the Israeli occupation forces.
In response to the false ownership claims by Ateret Cohanim, the family battled in Israeli courts for six years insisting on their right to stay in their home. The court, which is a body created to bureaucratize Israeli apartheid, violence and ethnic cleansing, allowed the family to temporarily stay while their children were prohibited from living in their parents’ house. Ten years after the ruling, in May, 2023, Israeli courts issued a final order to expel the Sub Laban family from their home.
The imminent expulsion of the Sub Laban family is an integral part of relentless and continuous Israeli attempts to impose Jewish supremacy in Jerusalem. The strategic location of the home – 100 meters away from the Al-Aqsa Mosque Compound and the Al-Buraq Wall (Western Wall) – would allow apartheid Israel to further encircle the Mosque. This would be another important step in the effort to obliterate Palestinian religious, cultural, social and historical presence in the city.
For years, Israel has been trying to tighten its control over the Old City by creating a settlement ‘ring’ encircling it. The so-called cable car project, the continuous expansion of the ‘Jewish quarter’ through taking over Palestinian homes in the Old City, and ethnic cleansing in the surrounding areas like Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan are part of that colonial endeavor. Currently, about 150 Palestinian families in Jerusalem face imminent expulsion from their homes.
In addition to home confiscations, home demolitions are another tool to change the Palestinian-Arab face of Jerusalem. Several Palestinian homes in Silwan, Al-Mukabber and other areas in the city face demolition. In Sheikh Jarrah four families are facing imminent eviction while almost 150 Palestinian families in the old city and other areas are threatened to be evicted. The latest crime of home demolition took place on June 7, 2023 in the neighborhood of Wadi Qaddoum in Silwan.