Israeli settlers seize Sob Laban family house in Jerusalem’s Old City

06:00 Jul 11 2023 Jerusalem's Old City ( البلدة القديمة הָעִיר הָעַתִּיקָה)

Scene. Published by Palestine News Agency (WAFA)

Nora Sub Laban (R) reacts following her and her family's eviction from their home in East Jerusalem to make way for Jewish settlers on Tuesday. Credit: Olivier Fitoussi Published by Haaretz

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JERUSALEM, Tuesday, July 11, 2023 (WAFA)

Israeli settlers Tuesday seized the family house of Sub Laban in the Old City in Jerusalem after breaking into it under the protection of Israeli forces and forcibly evacuating it from its residents and detaining the activists supporting the family.

Ahmad Sub Laban, a resident in the house, said that the only thing the family took from the house is a tree as old as his 17-year-old son, noting it’s the only thing they demanded to take as a memory from the house until they return to it.

The deadline set by the Israeli occupation authorities to evacuate the Sub Laban family from their home expired last Sunday,

Several years ago, Israeli settlers seized an upper part of the building and another part of it, while the house of the Sub Laban family remained in the middle of the building, which was surrounded by settlements on all sides.

The family rented the house in 1953 from the Kingdom of Jordan, and was granted protected lease rights, but after the occupation of Jerusalem, it was placed under the management of the so-called Custodian of Absentee Properties, claiming that its ownership belonged to the Jews, which was categorically denied by the family.

In 2016, the Israeli occupation courts prevented members of the Jerusalemite Sub Laban family, Raafat, Ahmed, his wife and children, and their sister, from living inside the house, which led to the dispersal of the family.


Palestinian Family Evicted From East Jerusalem Home to Make Way for Israeli Settlers

Israeli police forcibly evict the last resident, Mustafa Sub Laban, in his 70s, as well as activists after decades of struggle. Demonstrators protesting the eviction arrested

by Nir Hasson for Haaretz
July 11, 2023

Israel Police evicted a Palestinian family from its home in the Muslim Quarter of East Jerusalem on Tuesday morning to make way for Israeli settlers, who took possession of the home shortly after the eviction.

The forceful eviction of the Sub Laban family, that has lived in the house for more than 70 years, is the culmination of a struggle lasting decades.

Dozens of protesters gathered at the Old City of Jerusalem's Jaffa Gate to protest the family's eviction and twelve were arrested.

At about 6 AM on Tuesday, a large police force blocked off the whole area and about 20 police officers broke into the house and extracted the last resident, Mustafa Sub Laban, a man in his 70s, who had remained in the home together with six Israeli left-wing activists. His wife Nora Gheith Sub Laban had lived with him there too but was hospitalized on Monday evening.

The stated grounds for the eviction were that the home had belonged to Jews before 1948, and is now controlled by a Jewish community trust (kadesh). The last eviction order had been issued weeks ago, since which left-wing activists took up position in the home.

"If you were born in a house, all your brothers and sisters were born in the house, you grew up in it, you got married in it, your father and mother died in it, your brother was exiled from it – would you relinquish it, and give up? I want an answer," Nora Gheith Sub Laban told Haaretz in June.

"Every minute I stay in this house is another minute of protecting my childhood memories. Every minute I feel embraced by family members who are no more. I am never lonely in this house, even when I'm alone – my whole family and all my memories are constantly with me, in this house."

She added at the time that if forces came to evict them, she wouldn't open the door. "But if I feel danger to me or my husband, I'll give up, to protect my family. If I'm evicted – I'll give the house to God. This house will remain as a prison until it's liberated. I'll be back. And if I can't, then my children. One day the occupation will end and we'll be back."

In recent weeks, Israeli and foreign left-wing activists held protests outside the house, and representatives of the diplomatic community in Israel constantly visited the site. Last week one of the activists, Gil Hammerschlag, was arrested next to the house for wearing a hat depicting a Palestinian killed by IDF fire in the West Bank and for "behaving suspiciously."

Hammerschlag was accused of conduct that could disrupt the public order and insulting a civil servant after referring to police officers as "terrorists with weapons of destruction." He rejected the conditions for his release, including staying away from the Old City of Jerusalem, and has remained in detention ever since.

On Wednesday, the spokesperson for the U.S. State Department addressed the evacuation of the Sub Laban family: "We have been clear that it is critical for Israel and the Palestinian Authority to refrain from unilateral steps that exacerbate tensions and undercut efforts to advance negotiated two state solution. And that certainly includes evictions of families from homes in East Jerusalem in which they have lived for generations."

Ben Samuels contributed to this story.
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