Duncan Shipley-Smith (QLD) writes to the JNF re the eviction of the Sumarin family in Silwan 23Nov11 November 23, 2011

I write to you as someone who is deeply concerned both with Israel’s security and with the human rights of all people living under Israel’s control. I urge you to exert your influence to stop Himnuta, an organization owned entirely by the JNF/KKL, from evicting the twelve members of the Sumarin family, including five children, a pregnant mother, and a grandfather on dialysis, from their house in Silwan in East Jerusalem. The JNF/KKL took possession of the family home by unfairly exploiting Israel’s Absentee Property Law, and has then pursued a legal case to evict the family. The eviction may be “legal” according to Israeli law but it is not just, and is a violation of both Jewish and human rights law. The Sumarin family has been living in their home for more than forty years. Jewish law goes to great lengths to prevent evictions, especially in cases in which those evicted will end up “abandoned on the street,” in the words of Moses Maimonides. The laws being used to evict the Sumarin family are only applied towards Arabs and Palestinians, violating the Jewish tradition’s demand to have one law for all, not to oppress the stranger and not to act eifah v’eifah, with a double standard. International law includes significant protections against displacement. For example, the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the body of independent experts that monitors the implementation of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), has declared that “instances of forced eviction are prima facie incompatible with the requirements of the Covenant and can only be justified in the most exceptional circumstances, and in accordance with the relevant principles of international law.” As a person committed to a lasting peace between Israelis and Palestinians, I also believe that the evictions of Palestinians from East Jerusalem constitute an obstacle to peace. I ask you to urge Himnuta to stop the eviction of the Sumarin family from its home. With prayers of peace and justice for Jerusalem.

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