Right now the media is reporting that the Palestinian residents in Sheikh Jarrah are being evicted. Somehow the media is not explaining the history and background of this eviction.
The Kohelet Policy Forum provides the background on the situation:
The current dispute in Sheikh Jarrah involves several properties with tenants whose leases have expired, and in a few cases squatters with no tenancy rights at all,against owner–landlords who have successfully won court orders evicting the squatters and overstaying tenants. The litigation has taken several years, and the owners have won at every step. The squatters and overstaying tenants have appealed against the eviction orders to the Supreme Court. The only decision that stands before the Israeli government is whether to honor the courts’ decisions and enforce the eviction orders if affirmed by the Supreme Court, or whether to defy court orders and deny the property owners their legal rights.
Fox News did not accurately report on the situation:
…Trey Yingst’s May 8 report, which aired on FOX at about 1:57 PM Eastern time. Yingst claimed that the court decision to evict certain residents of that neighborhood was based on “an obscure Israeli law.” Yingst also quoted the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs claiming that the residents are at risk “if the [Israeli] Supreme Court sets a new standard.” Of course, there is nothing “obscure” about the requirement that tenants pay rent, nor is it a “new standard.”
NGO Monitor reports that, “according to a 1989 High Court decision, and re-affirmed repeatedly in subsequent cases, as in the case of any tenant living on someone else’s property, residents … were required to pay rent to the organizations that owned the properties. Their failure to do so, along with instances of illegal building and illegally renting properties to others, resulted in the current legal proceedings against them, culminating in the District Court decision.”
And the Kohelet Policy forum explains, “the leasehold and trespass legal issues at stake are similar to those found throughout the world, other than the unusually strong rent control and tenant protections given to the protected tenants (Palestinian Arabs in this dispute).”
While Yingst interviewed two residents of the neighborhood on camera, he did not interview anyone who could reliably give an accurate legal perspective.
While a decision on the case has now been postponed for up to a month, the violence that it has spurred continues to escalate, so it’s important for journalists and the public to understand the facts. Moreover, as described below, Yingst’s reporting on continuing events also adds new errors.
Be aware that the media often reports on events in Israel without knowing or including the background information that explains what is happening.