JERUSALEM (VINnews) — Violence is escalating in the Nachlat Shimon neighborhood of East Jerusalem Thursday night. Arabs began setting fire to vehicles of Jewish residents in the neighborhood and attacked with stones. Jewish residents who felt threatened, pulled out pistols and fired at the rioters.
The violence is escalating due to a new ruling that will see Arabs evicted from pre-1948 Jewish houses, as they refused to pay rent and did not recognize Jewish ownership there.
The Jewish residents previously offered a deal to make Arabs living there protected tenants until their death. However, the Arabs refused the deal, as this would recognize Jewish ownership.
Thus, they will now be thrown out, unless there is a legitimate appeal.
The reason that Jews can reclaim pre-1948 properties while Arabs cannot reclaim similar properties in West Jerusalem is due to a subtle legal difference between the two. While the Jewish state formalized in 1950 the Absentee Property Law which allowed it to take possession of properties left behind by Arabs who fled and then sell such property rights to Jews, no such law existed in Judea, Samaria and East Jerusalem. Arabs settled in Nahalat Shimon on Jewish lands and in Jewish homes and were not recognized as owners by the Jordanians.
When Israel conquered the region in 1967, a number of owners requested their lands and after a lengthy legal process received them back and these make up the tiny Nahalat Shimon neighborhood situated near the tomb of Shimon Hatzadik. The current legal processes will lead to a significant number of additional homes being reclaimed by Jewish elements and this has led to the violence in the neighborhood.