Photo Credit: Wisam Hashlamoun/Flash90
An Arab building was blown up by Israeli forces in Sur Baher, eastern Jerusalem, on July 22, 2019.

The Palestine News Agency (WAFA), the PLO’s official news organ, is one of the best sources for news on the evictions of Arab residents of eastern Jerusalem from the homes where many of them had been squatting since the 1950s, but which, ultimately, are being returned to their Jewish owners – either those who were chased out by the Jordanian Legion in 1948-9, or those who have newly purchased the properties in question.

I make WAFA my regular daily stop in search of news which revives my Jewish soul, with all the benefits of doing the opposite to the other side. When it comes to reclaiming Jewish property, this child of survivor has precious little mercy left for the other side.

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On Monday, WAFA was rife with news to gladden the hearts of Zionist Jews:

An Israeli court ruled on Sunday in favor of demolishing four Arab owned houses in the Wadi al-Hummus area in Sur Baher, a neighborhood southeast of Jerusalem, where Israel in July demolished 11 buildings because they were built too close to the separation wall. Those buildings in Wadi al-Hummus held more than 70 apartments, some inhabited and some still under construction. Well, no more.

Also on Sunday, an Israeli court approved of the eviction of an Arab family from its home in Kfar Ha’Shiloach (Silwan) in east Jerusalem, which before the 1948 war was home to many Yemenite Jews.

According to WAFA, the court ruled against a petition by one Nasser Rajabi to overrule a lower court’s decision issued in 2016 ordering him to turn over his three-story building to Ateret Cohanim, a group dedicated to reclaiming Jewish property as well as to purchasing new land, mostly in eastern Jerusalem. A total of 16 Arabs currently live in this three-apartment building.

The court ruling could also affect the fate of a plot of land where 35 residential buildings have been constructed with most of the apartments there already sold to their Arab inhabitants.

One can only hope.

Israeli military bulldozers demolished an Arab building in the neighborhood of Issawiya in eastern Jerusalem on July 11, 2017. / Afif H. Amireh/Flash90

Finally, the City of Jerusalem on Sunday issued a notice of eviction against seven Arab households in the neighborhood of Bab al-Silsila in Jerusalem’s Old City, very close to the Temple Mount, because their homes are on the verge of collapse due to cracks in the walls. The Arabs blame the cracks on Jewish excavations underground.

Keep on digging.

Rashid Zahdeh, a resident of Bab al-Silsila, told WAFA that 22 Arab families may be forced to evacuate their homes. He said that seven families have already been told to evacuate as soon as possible while the remaining families are expected to get their notices in the near future.

Zahdeh reiterated the accusation that the Israeli excavations at Bab al-Silsila, which is one of the gates leading to the Temple Mount, are going to displace 200 Arab residents of Jerusalem, which he believes is an intentional policy to forcibly remove Arabs from the Old City under various pretexts and replace them with Jewish settlers.

If it only were so…

Following Jewish growth (real and imagined) in the liberated territories on WAFA is almost as much fun as following it on Peace Now (Ashkenazi WAFA?). Those folks give a new meaning to the word dedication. They keep meticulous records of every new window installed in Jewish settlements, every cement driveway, every new kindergarten. Without them, we’d be lost…

May we all be comforted with the rebuilding of Zion and Jerusalem.

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