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Report: Jewish group delays East Jerusalem eviction

Nov. 27, 2011 11:32 P.M. (Updated: Nov. 28, 2011 5:14 P.M.)
TEL AVIV, Israel -- The Jewish National Fund has delayed the eviction of a Palestinian family from their home in East Jerusalem, Israeli media said Sunday.

The Sumarin family had received an order to evacuate their Silwan home by Monday. Their house, declared absentee property and transferred by the government to the Jewish National Fund subsidiary Himnuta in 1991, lies at the entrance of the East Jerusalem neighborhood and adjacent to the controversial Israeli-built City of David tourist site.

The JNF announced a delay in their takeover of the property on Thursday night, Israeli daily Haartez reported. It did not specify how long the Sumarin's will be allowed to remain in their home.

Himnuta's takeover of the home will "dramatically change the character" of Silwan, Settlement Watch director at Israeli Peace Now organization Hagit Ofran warned in an article on the Huffington Post at the time.

Silwan families have lost a number of homes to demolitions and evictions by Israeli forces.

Legal scholars say the the Absentee Property Law -- under which the Sumarin house was seized -- enables Jewish individuals or associations to claim rights to property allegedly owned prior to 1948, while not recognizing similar Palestinian claims.

Jewish settlers illegally built the seven-story building Beit Yonatan in Silwan, and a number of court orders decreeing its eviction have never been implemented.

Israel insists that Jerusalem is its "eternal and indivisible" capital, and annexed the city's eastern sector after a 1967 war in a move never recognized by the international community.

For Palestinians, East Jerusalem is the capital of their promised state.
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