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JERUSALEM: Jewish settlers occupy Palestinian house in the Old City

One night before the Arab League met in Cairo on Thursday, where Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said he could not return to direct negotiations with Israel because of continuing Jewish settlement activities in Jerusalem, Jewish settlers seized a building in the Muslim Quarter of the Old City.

While most of the 40 Palestinian residents of the building were attending a wedding celebration, a group of settlers guarded by Israeli police broke down doors inside the two-floor building and moved into the fully furnished rooms.

Only one member of the Qirrish family, longtime inhabitants of the site, was in his room and was not evicted. The elderly man telephoned the rest of his family and told them what had occurred. The family rushed back to find the police blocking the entrance. Family members spent the night sitting on chairs outside the building, waiting to seek legal help in the morning.

The building had been purchased by the Jewish settler group Ateret Cohanim, a religious organization whose agenda is settling Jews inside the Muslim Quarter of Jerusalem, from its original Palestinian owners, who moved to the U.S. in the late 1970s. The new owners soon attempted to evict the Qirrish family, who contested the eviction in court and won an order allowing them to remain while paying rent to Ateret Cohanim.

The settler group attempted a second time, in 2000, to get a court eviction order after older members of the Qirrish family had died.

The Qirrish descendants who continued to live in the same building again contested the eviction; the court ruled in their favor. Since then, the family had been residing in the house, said Munnawar Qirrish. “I have been living in this house for 42 years,” she said while waiting for the police to allow her to reenter the building.

The day after the home was seized, a magistrate court ordered that residents be allowed to return to the building. But that did not occur immediately, and family members continued to wait outside the building Thursday.

“My husband is 67 years old, and he needs his medicine, which is inside the house," Munnawar Qirrish said. "I cannot even enter the house to get the medicine. All my personal belongings are inside and I do not know what the settlers are doing to them. I do not know if they are sleeping in my bed or what they are doing inside.”

-- Maher Abukhater in Jerusalem

Comments () | Archives (17)

Thank you, Geoff Trapp! Someone finally got it right! It gets even uglier than what Geoff speaks off since before 1946, there was no Israel...the region was called Palestine. Jews, Christians, and Muslims all lived in Jerusalem...for the most part, peacefully for centuries. Then World War 2 came along and when it was over, there was no European country that wanted any of the uprooted Jewish population that had been spread all over the continent by the Nazi's.

Enter Winston Churchill who said let's carve out a homeland for these displaced people but before he could put a plan into action, he had to militarize the Jewish generals that had been helpful during the war. But then Churchill lost his next bid to remain Prime Minister and the new British government left the fledgling Jewish army on its own and they were getting their butts kicked by the Muslims in 1947 for trying to take and settle on land that did not belong to them...gee, does this sound familiar?

Enter Harry S. Truman who developed American policy to aid the Jewish army with modern tanks, artillery, guns, and the technical expertise developed by the US military during WW II. With American muscle, the Jews started winning against the Muslims, who had neither the weaponry or means to wage a war aginst the US, and Truman went before the League of Nations and said "Look here, see, the Jews are settling in this land called Palestine and we should recognize the State of Israel as the new Jewish Homeland".

Problem solved: millions of European Jews now rushed to Israel, bolstering its army and displacing as many Muslim population centers as they could before anyone could say anything. Here's the real ugly part...the Jews were explicitly told "do not touch the Christian enclaves", which they still haven't to this day, even though some buildings that are in the Chritian sections are own by Jewish corporations.

The main thrust is Israel is an apartheid system because it restricts all movements, earning potential, legal staus, and living arrangements for only one segment of the population in Jerusalem - Muslims. If you are systematically driven from your home, what other recourse do you have?

Come on! everyone knows Palestinians are underdog's in this vicious extended family feud and they can't get a fair treatment from Israel governing institutions and majority of her society unless, if one has been out of touch with situations from that part of world!

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The operative words are that someone else owns the building, not the tenants. Landlords have rights, too, even Jewish ones. The tenants got an adverse ruling in a Court. They dragged this matter out for decades. Its finally come to an end. Tolerance and respect for law and order by keeping the peace during difficult political times is being deliberately misinterpreted by comments on this page as acquescence in tenants acquiring ownership rights to real property by reason of duration of tenancy and then calling it racism and discrimination. Rubbish. The Court waited until the original entry tenants died or removed themselves before lifting the stay. The tenants traded in relatives to keep their claim to continuous occupation, but this is not recognized at law or equity. The injunction was personal to the original tenants, but not other family members and relatives.

Kaabob - this is a month to month tenancy. I believe this is also the house with a two month lapse hence breach in payment which would break any lease.
Evictions are done in the middle of the night to avoid rioting by local Arabs. The alternative is mayhem. You can't yeild to mob rule over property rights.

Before 1948 Jerusalem was entirely in Jewish hands. It was not divided, there was no East and West Jerusalem, this is an entirely new Arab fiction. The old city had its four quarters. that's it. Arabs ran barbed wire through the middle of the town, it was still a backwater town in those days, and cut off Hebrew University from the rest of the city.

To Mike...sounds a bit like what the Nazis did to the Jews...expelling them. What's next, camps; oh right, those already exist so I guess ovens are the next thing on the agenda.

There is no such thing as a "Palestinian" house. It's a Jewish house temporarily inhabited by Palestinians. One day Israel will wake up and settle the score once and for all with these Arabs by throwing them all out. The entire road from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem was littered with Arab villages, and they were all expelled during the War of Independance and are Jewish villages and towns today.

"Settlers" sounds so much better than "squatters" or "thieves".


But the house was Jewish! Built by Jews in the 19th century. Even the AFP report included that info. Not "Palestinian". The property was ethnically cleansed of Jews during the late 1930s ritos and finally by the Jordanian Legion which illegally occupied the city.

It´s no surprise to me that Israeli news gets reported so widely. Commentators in support of Israel should refrain from insulting those who disagree with them so much if they want to bring about change. If you start blaming the messenger - in this case the LA Times - realistically, you can´t expect them to stop doing what they do, otherwise they would be seen to be caving in to pressure of a very unpleasant kind.

The easiest and cleverest way to get your point across is to read what you´re saying before posting it. There is a very good way of testing how others might receive your message. Just put Jew or Israeli where you put Arab or Palestinian and see how you would like someone writing about your mother, father, sisters or brothers like that.

Israel must learn to grow up and understand that racism is unacceptable today. Anything using the race card too often - that includes employing the anti-semitic accusation - risks closer examination of what is really happening in Israel.

Sorry, for those who think it´s Israel-bashing, but it ain´t very nice, and the state machine is becoming distinctly racist in character. The LA Times should be commended for bringing news of what´s happening in the world to our attention. If you don´t like it, get Israel to change its policies, not the Times to changes its stories.

Geoff Trapp,
Well researched and written, good job!

Sorry Michelle, the facts are accurate, and you don't even have to take the word of the LA Times for it. A Jewish NGO based in Israel, The Israeli Committee Against Home Demolitions, confirmed this incident on their web site ( ). What the LA Times article does not mention is that according to ICAHD, this occurred at 2 AM, in the dead of night.

I suggest that the reason you do not think this adds up is that it conflicts with the false narrative you have been fooled into believing about Israel: that Israel is a fair and just "democracy" who is our ally, and shares our values. The sad truth is that this kind of thing happens all the time in Israel. Outside the bubble of the pro-Israel U.S. news media, Israel is widely considered to be a racist, apartheid state which has been engaged in a campaign of ethnic cleansing against the non-Jewish Arab population of Palestine for the last 62 years.

I'll skip getting into heavy details about all the racism non-Jews are routinely subjected to ... such as the PSA's on Israeli TV urging Jewish girls not to fall in love with Arab men ( ), and the officially organized vigilante patrols who go out at night looking for "race mixing" couples ( ), sometimes beating up Arab men seen in the company of Jewish girls (,7340,L-3923576,00.html ). Echos of America's Old South, anyone?

I'll just concentrate on the ethnic cleansing:

It started with a rapid, Darfur-like ethnic cleansing between 1947 - 49, when Jewish terrorist groups like Irgun, Lehi and the Haganah engaged in a series of Janjaweed-style terrorist attacks and massacres against Palestinian villages. One of the more infamous of these massacres occurred at Deir Yassin (Google it). About 725,000 native Palestinian people had to flee for their lives to escape the attacks of these Jewish terrorist squads, which later were incorporated into the IDF (these were the original "Palestinian refugees" you hear mentioned so often in the news). The Zionists then declared the homes and lands the Palestinians were forced to leave behind to be "abandoned", and illegally appropriated them into their new country of Israel.

This is how Israel was created. It is analogous to how America was created by ethnically cleansing and then stealing the land of the Native Americans ... only the prevailing racism of that era meant that we Americans did not mislead ourselves or the world about what we were actually doing, in the way which Israel does.

Just like all of America is built on land that was once Native American, all of Israel is built on land that as recently as 63 years ago was Palestinian. Tel Aviv airport, Tel Aviv University, and many of the cities and towns in Israel are constructed on top of old Palestinian villages, yet there are no markers, museums, or evidence preserved that those villages ever existed. Israel even denies and covers up the true history of their ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people to Jewish children, falsely teaching them that Israel was "a land without a people for a people without a land". We all know about the outrage the Jewish community rightfully raises whenever someone tries to deny or cover up the Nazi holocaust. Yet "a land without a people for a people without a land" is taught in every Hebrew school in the world, without a peep of objection.

Since 1948, the Zionists have sadly continued their campaign of slowly ethnically cleansing the Palestinians from their land, in violation of the Geneva Conventions and hundreds of U.N. Resolutions. After Israel captured East Jerusalem and the West Bank from Jordan in 1967, Israel began encouraging its citizens to illegally move to these areas, and set up illegal Settlements (hence, the Settlers). This activity is expressly forbidden under the Geneva Conventions: a country cannot annex land captured in war, and is forbidden from transferring its own population into it. Otherwise, countries would be invading each other in campaigns of conquest all the time.

These facts are well known. Thus, every settler is East Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Golan Heights is basically a criminal and co-conspirator in war crimes already: they know their presence is illegal under international and humanitarian law, and they know the land they are on was obtained by ethnic cleansing, a war crime. Yet they choose to go anyway, because they feel their religious convictions entitle them to.

So it should come as no surprise that they behave as lawless criminals would: when they are told "NO" by an Israeli court, they simply ignore the order, break into the house at 2 AM, and just seize it extrajudicially. After all, extrajudicial appropriation of land through force and terror is how Israel was created in the first place.

As to Ateret Cohanim "purchasing" the home from the Arab Christian landowners living in the U.S., this transaction is of questionable and dubious legal validity to begin with, since the land in question is under illegal occupation to begin with. None the less, the Qirrish family is protected under Jordanian law, which is different, "Dean Blake", from the way evictions work here in the U.S. (although your racist comments about Mexicans speaks volumes as to your credibility already). The Qirrish family cannot legally be evicted, and even if they could, the Israeli courts have already said they can stay.

Unfortunately, Zionist settlers rarely pay any mind to what any law says; they feel they have a right under a higher law (that of their perverted interpretation of the Torah) to do whatever they wish.

There are many tools which the Zionists use in their campaign of slow-motion ethnic cleansing today, and I cannot begin to discuss them all in this comment. But I can say that the problem has intensified. However, despite the attempts of the Israeli government to prevent the world from finding out the truth through a campaign of strict military censorship of the Israeli press, and restricting or barring foreign journalists from reporting in the Occupied Territories, the truth is getting out. Anyone can now go to sites like YouTube, and see home camera footage shot by Palestinians in the West Bank of "Jewish" settlers shooting, beating, and stealing the land of Palestinians without provocation or cause. You can also witness how the Israeli police and army usually stand back and observe these crimes occurring, almost always back the settlers, and rarely (if ever) protect the Palestinians. I note that this footage is only available on YouTube because of the courage and conviction of REAL Jews from Israeli NGO's like B'Tselem, who provide the Palestinians free camcorders, and even help upload and publicize the resulting footage of Zionist settler crimes.

I say "Zionist" because none of this should be confused with true Judaism. Real Judaism is a religion based around fairness and justice and truth and honesty. Zionism is a political philosophy about owning and controlling land, which perverts the religion of Judaism to justify its illegal behavior ... similar to how the KKK perverts the religion of Christianity to justify hating blacks and Jews, or how Al Qaida perverts Islam to justify hating non-Muslims (yes, I made those comparisons, and yes, I think they are justified in context).

If you want to learn more of the actual truth about Israel, I humbly suggest you start by visiting the web sites of Jewish Israeli NGO's who object to these immoral, illegal actions, like The Israeli Committee Against Home Demolitions, B'Tselem, Gisha, Machsom Watch, and Jewish Voice For Peace.

Uh, news flash - when you sell or buy a building with existing tenancies in California, they are NOT terminated. Lease holders have contractual rights and the seller of the building has to disclose the various existing tenancies. After the existing tenancies are expired, the new owner then has the right and option to choose not to lease to the existing tenants.

Even this article's case has involved the courts, and if you actually READ it, it will tell you that although the evicted tenants have been ordered by the court to be allowed back in, the Israeli police still have refused to do so.

take a look at homes from hell on your tv sets,people purchase land build on it and then at some later stage the original owner turns up and wants it back ,one i saw a few weeks ago required the new owner to knock down the house and turn the land back to its prior condition,and ,from what i recall the owners had lost the land due to war,and had re located,but then wished to return,the courts sided with its previous owner and the house was knocked down.
none of the people involved were jewish,what ever we do some-one always
wants to paint a dark picture,and the LA TIMES does not help.

b.s., this is a Middle-Eastern blog dedicated for bringing all kind of news from there to here in to LA with people residing here from all over the globe, it's true this evictions happens all over the world and you can catch their news in their appropriate local or not news medias, unfortunately it's only Israelis which are constantly whining about why publishing bad news from Israel since they're very much for selective censorship, to much for "Ghosen one's" being open minded!

check out your facts before printing , something doesnt add up.

Los Angeles Courts are currently FLOODED with eviction actions against Mexican nationals being pushed out of Anglo owned properties, especially during this recession, but it doesn't make the international news and certainly not the LA Times.
"The building had been purchased " Someone other than the renters owns the building and they want the current tenants O-U-T. So what? That's news? In California when a building is sold, all existing tenancies are terminated. But for Abbas and international organizations, that's an international humanitarian crime, that a Jew should insist on his property rights. Jews can't live here or there.
When I was growing up my father had a bad back and he wanted to rent an apartment for us nearer to work to shorten the drive, but no Jews were allowed to live or buy in Lexington, Massachusetts in 1956.
By publishing this kind of an article and holding Israel and Jews up to disdain for assert5ing their property rights, the LA Times is applying a double standard and turning the clock back for Jews in Israel while illegal alien Mexican are being protected here in the USA!!! Complete reversal of positions; one standard for the USA and another for Israel. Jews are made out to be 'illegal' in their aboriginal homelands and are to be excluded by Abbas and the Arabs in territory that is not governed nor controlled by them, yet, if ever at all. And newspaper's reiterate their position as if it were 'newsworthy' to the Nth degree as expressed in an eviction by property owners. Jews can do no right by this standards, no wonder they ignore and under these circumstances should ignore the musing of the Gentile world.


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