The Sumarin case, update April 5th 2021: Israel’s Supreme Court backs down from making a decision.

Israel’s Supreme Court backed down from evicting the Sumarin family and passed the decision to the representative of the state, the Attorney General, in a move which clearly indicates where the responsibility lies for demolition of Palestinian homes throughout the Occupied Territories: with the Israeli apartheid regime itself and its willing agents, JNF and Elad.

Jerusalem protest in support of the Sumarin family April 5th .

 On April 5th, the Supreme Court was supposed to hear the Sumarin family’s appeal against the ruling ordering their eviction from their home in Silwan in favour of the Jewish National Fund (the JNF, or KKL).

But, at the beginning of the hearing, the judges announced that they had decided to request the Attorney General to state his position on the matters discussed in the case, and consequently no hearing took place. The Judges gave the Attorney General 60 days to give his opinion. After the state’s opinion is filed, the two sides (the JNF and the Sumarin family) will have a chance to respond, and then a hearing will be scheduled.

Hagit Ofran, of Peace Now, offered this comment on the significance of the Supreme Court’s move: The Israeli government cannot continue claiming that eviction of families in East Jerusalem is “only” a legal matter between settlers and Palestinians.  The government’s fingerprints are all over the Sumarin case. This is a political matter in which governmental apparatus, such as the Custodian of Absentees’ Properties, the Israel Land Authority and the JNF, have been utilized to dispossess Palestinians from their properties in East Jerusalem and to replace them by settlers.”

 The 30-year long fight of the Sumarin family to keep their home in East Jerusalem offers a window into the Israeli policy of the Judaization of the whole of historic Palestine, a policy which necessitates ethnic cleansing, and which has as its handservants agents such as the JNF/Himnuta and Elad, the radical settler organisation.

The Sumarin family are not alone in facing the loss of their home: across the West Bank, in East Jerusalem and in the Naqab, Palestinians are facing eviction and the demolitions of their homes on an ever-increasing scale. This family has a high profile, supported by an international coalition, and are exemplars of the Palestinian people, who collectively face illegal and inhumane acts of cruelty, acts which build and sustain the apartheid regime of the state of Israel.

What’s happening to the Sumarin family has attracted international attention and this has proved effective in creating a nervousness in the JNF/KKL. The organisation took fright at the massive support for the Sumarin case and sought to freeze the Sumarin family’s eviction in July last year, anxious about the international ramifications of this blatantly unjust action for its world-wide branches. This nervousness has now affected even the Supreme Court of Israel as yesterday’s highly unusual decision reveals.

Here in the UK, EDM 529 (2020) strongly condemned the JNF for its ongoing efforts to evict the Sumarin, pointed out that this case is just one strand of Israel’s policy of demographic engineering and ethnic cleansing and urged the Charity Commission to remove charitable status from the JNF UK, the British office of the JNF/KKL.

72 MPs supported this EDM and, as we reported, the Israeli Embassy tried to distance the fate of the Sumarin from the state, saying, “The Government of Israel is not a party to the ongoing legal proceedings involving the Sumarin family.” 

The excuse was a transparent attempt to deflect responsibility then and is now impossible to sustain, as it is the state which must determine the fate of the family. 

See this protest in support of the Sumarin.