Additionally, a private investigator testified that he had interviewed neighbors and none of them knew the Sub-Labans.
The court found in 2014 that the Sub-Labans have been living with their extended family in another apartment for 30 years, since 1984. The article references the period of 1984 to 2001, stating “Throughout this period, the family rented an apartment elsewhere in the city.” But it does not mention that the family continued to live elsewhere for more than a dozen additional years.
The AP initially completely ignored the fundamental information that in 2014 the Israeli court found that the Sub-Laban family lied and fabricated. Not only did the family fail to move back into the property in 2001 at the end of the period of renovations, thereby losing out on their status as protected tenants, but the court ruled that they attempted to build a fictitious life in the apartment from 2010 to 2014.
Clearly this information is absolutely essential to understanding that, as Israeli spokesman Mark Regev says, this was “a real estate dispute,” (apparently, in fact, a real estate fraud) and not a case of discriminatory Israeli laws singling out longtime, blameless Palestinians residents. But rather than report essential facts not in the Sub-Labans’ favor, AP was content to let Regev’s vague, non-specific claim of a “real estate dispute” stand as just that. Indeed, AP’s Laub and Daraghmeh went out of their way to discredit Regev, stating that he “did not address [the] concerns” of U.S. diplomat Dorothy Shea about the family’s fate and the “pattern of evictions.”
CAMERA Prompts Added Information
In response to CAMERA correspondence about AP’s gross omission of the court’s findings, editors added the following information (buried deep in the 22nd and 23rd paragraphs): Last year, a magistrate court approved the eviction order. The court’s decision was based on a finding that the apartment had remained empty between 2001 and 2010, saying there was little to no use of water or electricity during that time.
The family says the ruling relied heavily on settler testimony, and that it lived in the building throughout the period. Sub-Laban said the home was empty at times because he and his siblings went to university in Jordan and their parents would come to visit, but that otherwise the house was in constant use and the family paid rent. He said there were problems with utilities and that they sometimes had to rely on a neighbor to get water.
But not only did the court find that the apartment was empty from 2001 to 2010, it also found that the family fraudulently pretended to live there from 2010 to 2014 when in fact they did not. The family’s response that the court “relied heavily on settler testimony” does not address the fact that the family declined to call in any witnesses to testify on their behalf. ‘Discriminatory Use of Israeli Property Law’
Invoking laws that are irrelevant to the Sub-Labans’ case, Laub and Daraghmeh write: Others say Palestinians in Jerusalem, including the Sub-Labans, are victims of discriminatory use of Israeli property law.
Jews can seek the return of property they owned before 1948 in east Jerusalem, but Palestinians are barred from reclaiming properties in now-Jewish west Jerusalem, said Ir Amim, a group advocating for a fair solution in Jerusalem. . .
But, as the reporters themselves had earlier noted, the Sub-Labans did not own the property in question, so how are they victims of discriminatory use of laws that apply to property owners?
Moreover, AP ignores the fact that Palestinians who did lose homes that they owned in the western section of Jerusalem are eligible for compensation. Palestinian Arabs who in 1948 lost their homes within Israel, including in West Jerusalem, do have legal recourse. Indeed, some have opted to take advantage of the Absentee Property Law, which entitles them to compensation. According to the Israel Lands Administration, as of 1993, 14,692 Arabs claimed compensation under the Absentee Property Law and the Validation and Compensation Law. Claims were settled with respect to 200,905 dunams of land, a total of NIS 9,956,828 had been paid as compensation, and 54,481 dunams of land had been given in compensation (Israel Lands Administration Report for 1993). One Directional Movement?