In Sheikh Jarrah, an Ordinary Property Dispute Has Become a Pretext for Terror

A consumer of Western media could easily conclude that the current fighting in Israel was sparked by the Israeli government’s attempt to evict a sizeable number of Palestinians from their homes in Jerusalem as part of an effort to settle Jews there. Across social media, one can easily find such slogans as “free Sheikh Jarrah,” after the neighborhood where the eviction is supposed to happen. But this story bears almost no resemblance to the truth: the violence has rather more to do with internal Palestinian politics than anything else, and it began before the Sheikh Jarrah affair entered the news. Moreover, as Avi Bell explains, the Israeli government isn’t trying to evict anyone; rather, private landlords are trying to evict four Palestinian families who haven’t been paying rent on their property:

The current dispute in Sheikh Jarrah involves several properties with tenants whose leases have expired, and in a few cases squatters with no tenancy rights at all, against owner-landlords who have successfully won court orders evicting the squatters and overstaying tenants. The litigation has taken several years, and the owners have won at every step. The squatters and overstaying tenants have appealed against the eviction orders to the Supreme Court. The only decision that stands before the Israeli government is whether to honor the courts’ decisions and enforce the eviction orders if affirmed by the Supreme Court, or whether to defy court orders and deny the property owners their legal rights.

Critics claim that the Israeli government should—or even that international law requires the Israeli government to—deny the owners their property rights, but these claims are not based on any credible legal argument. Rather, the critics focus on the fact that the owners in the disputed cases are Jews while the squatters and overstaying tenants are Palestinian Arabs.

Critics of Israel in this case have adopted the bigoted position that property rights should depend on ethnicity and that Jewish ethnicity should be the grounds for denying legal property rights.

Contrary to claims in some media accounts, Israel did not grant anyone ownership to any of the affected properties on the basis of ethnicity. Israeli law respects and upholds the property rights of persons of all ethnicities. Israel has even respected the property rights created by prior regimes that explicitly discriminated against Jews in their property laws—the Ottoman empire, the British Mandate of Palestine, and the Jordanian occupation regime.

Read more at Kohelet

More about: Israeli law, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Jerusalem

Hamas’s Hostage Diplomacy

Ron Ben-Yishai explains Hamas’s current calculations:

Strategically speaking, Hamas is hoping to add more and more days to the pause currently in effect, setting a new reality in stone, one which will convince the United States to get Israel to end the war. At the same time, they still have most of the hostages hidden in every underground crevice they could find, and hope to exchange those with as many Hamas and Islamic Jihad prisoners currently in Israeli prisons, planning on “revitalizing” their terrorist inclinations to even the odds against the seemingly unstoppable Israeli war machine.

Chances are that if pressured to do so by Qatar and Egypt, they will release men over 60 with the same “three-for-one” deal they’ve had in place so far, but when Israeli soldiers are all they have left to exchange, they are unlikely to extend the arrangement, instead insisting that for every IDF soldier released, thousands of their people would be set free.

In one of his last speeches prior to October 7, the Gaza-based Hamas chief Yahya Sinwar said, “remember the number one, one, one, one.” While he did not elaborate, it is believed he meant he wants 1,111 Hamas terrorists held in Israel released for every Israeli soldier, and those words came out of his mouth before he could even believe he would be able to abduct Israelis in the hundreds. This added leverage is likely to get him to aim for the release for all prisoners from Israeli facilities, not just some or even most.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Gaza War 2023, Hamas, Israeli Security