Anywhere else it’d be a non-story. The mundane eviction of a family of squatters who refused to pay rent. But when it happens in Jerusalem, and the evicted squatters are Arabs, then the world is in an uproar.
The international media is aghast over Tuesday’s removal of an Arab family from a house in Jerusalem’s Old City where they had been living for the past half century.
Online and in print, they are eagerly parroting Palestinian claims that this is part of a broader and diabolical scheme to “Judaize” the city.
For Israel, it’s a simply real estate legal battle.
FACT CHECK: During British rule, Kollel Galicia, a group that collected funds in Eastern Europe for Jewish families in Jerusalem, owned the property in question. When Jordan conquered the Old City of Jerusalem and annexed it in 1948, it placed the house and all other “abandoned” Jewish properties under a “General Custodian.” That entity then moved Arab families into the seized Jewish homes.
Ever since Israel regained control of the Old City in 1967, Kollel Galicia has been contesting the right of the Sub Laban family to remain in the property rent-free. Israel’s Supreme Court took 45 years (!) to consider the evidence, and earlier this year finally ruled that the Sub Laban family could no longer remain rent-free in the property and that it would revert to its original owners.
But for Israel’s detractors, the facts don’t matter, and you can always count on them going to outrageous, nonsensical extremes. In this case, they uniformly portrayed the eviction of the Sub Laban family as an act of “ethnic cleansing.”
LOGIC CHECK: If Israel is on a campaign of ethnic cleansing in Jerusalem, then it’s really bad at it, and there’s nothing to worry about. A single family evicted among hundreds of thousands of local Arabs? That’s less than a drop in the bucket. At this rate it’ll take Israel a thousand years to remove all the Arabs from Jerusalem.
We all know of course that it’s not really ethnic cleansing. That’s just a convenient slur Israel’s haters sling to gain headlines.
As Hussain Abdul-Hussain, a Research Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, pointed out, “cleaning means killing or deportation.” That’s not what happened here. The Sub Laban family is free to “move into any other residential unit in Jerusalem,” though the landlords there will probably also insist that the rent be paid on time.
Dear Zach, cleansing means killing or deportation from Jerusalem, and perhaps all of Israel, which is not the case. The word you’re looking for is eviction, that is from a single residential unit. This family can still move into any other residential unit in Jerusalem or the rest… https://t.co/HuyUb6dYLN pic.twitter.com/8ehx161RUI
— Hussain Abdul-Hussain (@hahussain) July 12, 2023
And another point: Does being a “Palestinian” Arab give someone permission to break the law? That’s essentially what all those people around the world now losing their minds over this are telling the Palestinians. “Go ahead, break the law (and squatting is illegal in almost every country, not just Israel), force Israel to engage in basic law enforcement so we can protest against her!”
Local Arabs are being used as pawns by an Israel-hating world.
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