In the Sheikh Jarrah Affair, Palestinians Decided Getting Nothing Is Better Than Accepting Three-Quarters of a Loaf

In May, the case of Jerusalem property owners seeking to evict four Palestinian families from their homes in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood—or at the very least use the courts to force them to pay rent—became an international cause célèbre. Hamas even cited it as a pretext for its war with Israel. Since then, the case has continued to wend its way through the Israeli judicial system, until the Supreme Court this week proposed a compromise. Jonathan Tobin explains what happened:

Rather than uphold the property rights of the Jewish owners, the Israeli Supreme Court made the Arab families an offer that they shouldn’t have refused. It would allow them to stay in place by paying minimal rents and a fraction of the legal costs of their opponents while still giving them the right to have the case reopened by Israel’s Ministry of Justice, and also providing them extra legal protections that would guarantee that they couldn’t be evicted.

Pressured by the terrorist groups and corrupt officials that control Palestinian political life, the families turned down the deal with a statement that claimed that any effort to restore the property rights of the actual owners was a “crime” that was a matter of “ethnic cleansing perpetrated by a settler-colonial judiciary and its settlers.”

The language used here matters. It’s not just that their claim of “ethnic cleansing” is ironic because the only reason Arabs are living in these homes is due to the fact that Jews themselves were ethnically cleansed from parts of their ancient capital in 1948. It’s that they regard the state of Israel and its liberal Supreme Court as “settlers” who are no different from the most extreme Jewish residents of the most remote hilltop settlement deep in the West Bank.

Instead of accepting an extraordinary offer from Israel’s Supreme Court, which would have protected them from eviction from homes they do not own and for which they have refused to pay rent, [the Arab litigants, pressured by the Palestinian Authority], preferred to continue a fight in which they don’t have a legal leg to stand on.

Read more at JNS

More about: Guardian of the Walls, Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, Jerusalem, Supreme Court of Israel

As Hamas’s Power Collapses, Old Feuds Are Resurfacing

In May, Mahmoud Nashabat, a high-ranking military figure in the Fatah party (which controls the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority), was gunned down in central Gaza. Nashabat was an officer in the Gaza wing of the Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade, a terrorist outfit that served as Fatah’s vanguard during the second intifada, and now sometimes collaborates with Hamas. But his killers were Hamas members, and he was one of at least 35 Palestinians murdered in Gaza in the past two months as various terrorist and criminal groups go about settling old scores, some of which date back to the 1980s. Einav Halabi writes:

Security sources familiar with the situation told the London-based newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat that Gaza is now also beleaguered by the resurgence of old conflicts. “Many people have been killed in incidents related to the first intifada in 1987, while others have died in family disputes,” they said.

The “first-intifada portfolio” in Gaza is considered complex and convoluted, as it is filled with hatred among residents who accuse others of killing relatives for various reasons, including collaboration with Israel. . . . According to reports from Gaza, there are vigorous efforts on the ground to contain these developments, but the chances of success remain unclear. Hamas, for its part, is trying to project governance and control, recently releasing several videos showcasing how its operatives brutally beat residents accused of looting.

These incidents, gruesome as they are, suggest that Hamas’s control over the territory is slipping, and it no longer holds a monopoly on violence or commands the fear necessary to keep the population in line. The murders and beatings also dimension the grim reality that would ensue if the war ends precipitously: a re-empowered Hamas setting about getting vengeance on its enemies and reimposing its reign of terror.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Fatah, Gaza War 2023, Hamas