An Israeli court on Monday evening offered Palestinian families in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem to remain in their homes as “tenants” for 15 years.
Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth said the Supreme Court presented “a compromise solution” regarding the evacuation of Palestinian families from the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood.
According to the proposal submitted to the Palestinian families and a settlement association, the families will be recognized as “protected tenants” for a period of 15 years or until another arrangement is reached.
During this period, those residing in their homes who are threatened with expulsion will pay rent to the Nahalat Shimon settler organization, which claims ownership of the land on which the homes were built.
Under the proposal, the families will reserve the right to prove their claim of ownership of the properties as well as the right to renovate, repair and change the interiors of their houses whenever they want, without the approval of the settler company.
“Each family will deposit yearly rent of 2,400 shekels [$750] in the account of the counsel of the Nahalat Shimon Co. The payment will be deposited every year in advance beginning January 1, 2020 and every January 1 thereafter,” the proposal reads as cited by Haaretz newspaper.
The court gave the two sides until Nov. 2 to present their own amendments to the proposal, but warned that it will issue a binding rule if the proposal is rejected.
It was not immediately possible to contact Palestinian families in Sheikh Jarrah for comment on the court’s proposal.
While the compromise, if accepted, may delay the eviction of the Palestinian families from their homes in the foreseeable future, the Palestinians refuse to recognize Nahalat Shimon as the property owner.
An Israeli court ruling in January to evict seven Palestinian families from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah sparked fierce clashes between Palestinians and Israeli forces across the Palestinian territories in May.
The dispute stems from the events of 1948, when hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were forcefully evicted from their homes and lands, a tragedy Palestinians refer to as the “Nakba,” or “Catastrophe.
In 1956, 28 families settled in Sheikh Jarrah, under an agreement with the Jordanian government, which ruled the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, before its occupation in 1967, and the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA).
Israeli settlement associations, however, claim that the homes were built on land that was owned by Jews before 1948, a claim vehemently rejected by Palestinians.