About That ‘Real Estate Dispute’ in Sheikh Jarrah | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED X-Frame-Options: DENY X-Frame-Options: SAMEORIGIN

About That ‘Real Estate Dispute’ in Sheikh Jarrah

When the Israeli government describes the conflict over the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem as just a “real-estate dispute,” it has a point. Palestinian families are at risk of eviction (and some have already been evicted) from homes they’ve lived in for many years so that Jewish settlers, many of whom were born in Brooklyn, N.Y., can move into them. This is being done on the basis of a 1970 law that permits Jews to acquire Palestinian properties that are said to have been once owned by Jews. Also, under a 1950s law, the Israeli government claimed the properties of so-called “absentee” Palestinians, even if those individuals displaced by war and other means were refugees living elsewhere in Israel.

Demonstrated solidarity with those besieged Palestinian families by worshipers in the Al Aqsa mosque and the Gaza Strip – and the Israeli military’s (IDF) overwhelmingly destructive punishment – produced nearly two weeks of cruelty against the tiny (5-by-25-mile) and densely populated Gaza Strip, in which over 200 Palestinians, including about 70 children, were killed and many more wounded by the IDF, and about a dozen Israeli Jews were killed by Hamas projectiles. A ceasefire was reached and seems to be holding.

What’s the actual story about this “real estate dispute”? To answer that question in a way I would be fully confident in I would need to undertake a long and costly research program. In lieu of that, I will rely – for the sake of discussion – on a narrative that seems plausible, though it will satisfy neither side’s hardliners.

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