A house divided: A Palestinian, a settler and the struggle for East Jerusalem

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Nasser Rajabi and his mother, in the doorway below, share a house in East Jerusalem with Jewish settlers. (photo: Dan Balilty for The New York Times)
Efforts to force Palestinians from Sheikh Jarrah set the stage for the recent Gaza war. A similar dynamic looms in a nearby district.

By Patrick Kingsley | The New York Times | June 7, 2021

About 3,000 Palestinians in 200 East Jerusalem properties are living under threat of eviction…

JERUSALEM — Few places in East Jerusalem show the struggle over the city more intimately than a four-story house on a narrow alley in the Silwan district.

Nasser Rajabi, a Palestinian, and his family live in the basement, third floor and part of the second.Boaz Tanami, an Israeli settler, and his family live on the first floor and the rest of the second.

Each claims the right to live there. Each wants the other out. An Israeli court has ruled that a Jewish trust owns the building and ordered the eviction of Mr. Rajabi, but the ruling is under appeal.

The case is not just a dispute over a single property: It is part of an effort by Jewish settlers to cement Jewish control of East Jerusalem, a process many Palestinians see as a slow form of ethnic cleansing. A similar dispute in the nearby neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, which could lead to the eviction of Palestinians there to make room for settlers, led to protests, clashes and finally war between Israel and Hamas, killing more than 240 people.

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