JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — An Israeli magistrates’ court on Sunday ruled that eight buildings in a northern Jerusalem neighborhood must be evacuated and demolished, arguing that the properties are not owned by the Palestinian residents.
Residents in the Semiramis neighborhood of East Jerusalem, located in the seam zone area near Qalandiya checkpoint, must demolish the buildings themselves by Aug. 1 after the court ruled that the properties have been owned by Jewish Israelis since 1971.
The court also imposed a fine of 49,000shekels($12,667)on the owners. The buildings consist of 23 apartments housing 107 people.
One of the residents, Akram Abu Shalbak, told Ma’an that a hearing was held Friday, but the verdict was announced Sunday.
A group of Palestinians bought a tract of land in 2002 in the neighborhood, with all parties registering the property with official bodies without any obstacles, he added.
Israel then confiscated 10,000 square meters of the land when construction of the separation wall began, with the owners going court to appeal against the annexation.
At that time, no Jewish organizations or individuals had claimed any rights to ownership of the land, Abu Shalbak said.
In 2004, the owners constructed eight residential apartment buildings and in 2010 a group of Israeli settlers claimed they had owned the land since 1971, producing documents to prove their ownership.
The group received support from Arieh King, head of the Israel Land Fund, a group which works to settle Jews in Palestinian neighborhoods.
The owners of the apartments are Kamil Abd al-Qadir, Akram Abu Shalbak, Hamdi al-Rajabi, Jabir Khader, Ismail Khadir, Jamal Abu Leil, Omar Maaluf, Najih al-Rajabi, Muhammad Abu Shalbak and Said Abu Shalbak.