The Israeli Supreme Court partially grants Palestinian families' appeal, allowing them to stay in their occupied East Jerusalem homes until a final decision in the ongoing property dispute with an Israeli settler organisation.
Israel’s Supreme Court has suspended the evictions of four Palestinian families from the occupied east Jerusalem neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah, where they have battled attempts by Jewish settler groups to oust them.
Justice Isaac Amit, in a ruling by a three-judge panel, wrote the families would be recognised as protected tenants and would pay a Jewish settler group a symbolic annual rent of 2,400 shekels (about $740) “until a determination of ... land rights.”
The land rights battle between Jewish settlers and Palestinians in the neighbourhood has sparked clashes and partly fuelled the 11-day war in May between Israel and Palestine.
The Palestinian family received their eviction order in November, with a deadline to vacate by March 1.
A lawyer for the family, Medhat Diba, said the Jerusalem Magistrate’s court agreed to suspend the eviction until it ruled on an appeal launched by the Palestinians.
The new ruling leaves the final status of the property open to a decision by an office within Israel's Ministry of Justice, Gaal Yanovski, advocacy coordinator at Ir Amim, a group opposed to settlements, said.
Sami Irshid, a lawyer representing the Palestinian families, told AFP the decision was "significant".
"The decision of the Supreme Court today cancels the eviction while the issue of ownership is decided," he said.
More than 200,000 settlers now live in the occupied east Jerusalem, alongside about 300,000 Palestinians.
The Jewish settlements there are considered illegal under international law.