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  • 06:43 - 23 February 2019

What is the story behind the house adjacent to Al-Aqsa?

DRAH.ps--It is a very old house overlooking Al-Aqsa Mosque, only tens of meters away. Israel forcibly removed its owners to annex it, adding it to a large number of houses seized by Israeli settlers.

 The house of Hatem Abu Assab is 140 square meters in area and has a courtyard, surrounded by settlers from all sides. Therefore, the Israeli occupation authorities and the settlement associations see Hatem and his family as a thorn that must be removed. Evacuating the house is a violation of Israeli law that protects Hatem from eviction.

 The Judaization of Jerusalem has not stopped at all since 1967. Every day, there is settlement activity and an eviction notice, a house that is taken away by the power of arms and aliens confiscate land and terrorize people.

 The Israeli occupation forces evacuated the family from their house in the Old City of Jerusalem after severely beating them, amid the screams of women and children who were earlier held hostages for several hours.

 The Israeli occupation forces besieged the house of Hatem Abu Assab in Aqba al-Khalidiya in Old Jerusalem, in preparation for its evacuation to the benefit of the Israeli settlers. Israeli border guards broke into the house after closing the streets leading to the house in a very tense atmosphere.

 The owner of the house, Hatem Abu Assab, received an eviction notice. He managed to postpone the decision to evict the house until 28 October 2018.

 The family of Hatem Abu Assab moved to Old Jerusalem after being displaced from Al-Baqa'a neighborhood west of Jerusalem during the Nakba in 1948, after the Deir Yassin massacre. The family's grandfather lived in a room in Bab Al-Amoud neighborhood before moving to the current house in 1952. He shared it with his family after moving from one place to another.

 According to the family of Abu Assab, which consists of nine persons living in the house, they paid rent constantly to the so-called Custodian of Absentee Property. The lease was renewed, but five years ago, they were surprised by the eviction notice.

 The settlers claim that they rented the house from the Nusseibeh family in 1910 for 99 years, meaning that the lease expired 10 years ago.

 Hatem inherited the house from his grandfather, who was hired by the Nusseibeh family in 1952, and his aunt (the eldest daughter of the family) lives with him.

 However, the Israeli judiciary issued a decision to evacuate Abu Assab from the house. The evacuation was supposed to have taken place several days before the Israeli police informed the family that they would postpone it until the end of the month, but Abu Assab confirmed that he would stay at home with his 56-year-old aunt, and his six kids.

 The Israeli occupation authorities promised to protect the house as an Absentees Property as it claims to have the right to confiscate it. This is one of the ways in which the Israeli occupation forces occupy Palestinian homes and lands, especially in occupied Jerusalem.

 Hatem Abu Assab said in a statement that “the house is a treasure for us, and we cannot think of evacuating it.” He asked, “What will happen to us two weeks later? At the same time, he confirmed that the family had all the papers and documents confirming their right to the house.

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