New House Letter to Netanyahu Opposes Unjust Eviction Proceedings Against East Jerusalem’s Sumarin Family

September 23, 2020

J Street welcomes a new House letter to Prime Minister Netanyahu, signed by 26 members of Congress, expressing grave concerns over the Jewish National Fund (JNF)’s ongoing proceedings to evict the Sumarin family from its home in Silwan, a Palestinian neighborhood in East Jerusalem.

Led by Congresswoman Jackie Speier (CA-14), the signers observe that the proceedings against the Sumarin family — which could soon evict the family from their home in the midst of a pandemic — are based on an unjust and improper application of Israel’s Absentee Property Law. They share their concern that “if the government of Israel permits the misapplication of the Absentee Property Law in the case of the Sumarin family, it could be further applied in areas that Israel might acquire through any future unilateral annexation of West Bank territories. We believe this could formalize the illegal expropriation of private Palestinian land on a massive scale.”

We in the pro-Israel, pro-peace movement are grateful to Rep. Speier and her colleagues for their outspoken leadership on this issue. This letter is the latest important instance of US lawmakers taking action in defense of Palestinian rights and the pursuit of genuine Israeli-Palestinian peace, and in opposition to the ongoing, systemic injustice of settlement expansion, eviction and displacement in the West Bank and the Palestinian neighborhoods of East Jerusalem.

We continue to urge the JNF and Israeli authorities to immediately halt the proceedings against the Sumarin family, and to stop undertaking actions that violate Palestinian rights, further destabilize the status quo in Jerusalem and make it harder to resolve the city’s final status as part of a comprehensive Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement.