The “Room” in Jerusalem’s Ma’ale Har HaZeitim

UPDATE 10 am Israel time Tuesday:

It was a “quiet” night in southern Israel; “only” one Qassam rocket was fired at 12:09 am by Palestinians who were trying to kill Israeli men, women, and children. 

On Sunday, a Salafist cell in Hamas Gaza claimed responsibility for rocket attacks of the last few weeks (each few weeks a different group claims responsibility) publishing a picture and message (in Arabic of course) on a Palestinian news website:

The Islamist Salafi cell in Gaza that claims "credit" for the rockets of the last two weeks--of course, every such group in Gaza operates under the control of Hamas.

The message that accompanied the picture (translated):

“We have targeted and damaged the cowardly enemy with joy and gratitude. Allah has delivered the Jews to us, the cowardly enemies of Islam. Oh Allah, vanquish the infidel Jews, defeat them, shake them, and give us victory over them.”


The battle for Israel is being fought everyday, city by city, neighborhood by neighborhood, house by house, and room by room.

This overview was produced by Peace Now--it shows the relative position of the house (lower left). Also notice the Ma'ale Har HaZeitem neighborhood (by the way, your humble servant objects to the term "East" Jerusalem).

Check out these headlines from yesterday that refer to events yesterday surrounding a room in a house in the Ma’aleh Har Hazeitim (Mount of Olives) neighborhood of eastern Jerusalem:

“Right-wing Activists Seal Room in East Jerusalem Home” (Jerusalem Post)

“Israel Evicts Jerusalemite Family from their Home for Settlers to Live In (Wafa Palestinian News)

“Palestinian family evicted from Ras al-Amud” (Banglanews–Dakka Bangladesh)

The rear of the house is in the foreground (satellite dish on top) with the "room" to the left under the grapevine. Note the Temple Mount in the center-left background (picture source

Another view of the room from the front of the house:

A front view of the room from which 3 Hamdallah families members were evicted. Note the man with the green shirt carrying in wire to prevent the family from attempting to return.

All of these headlines–and others throughout the international media– so completely distort the reality of the situation concerning the disputed “room” in the house in Ma’ale Har HaZeitim that your humble servant thought he would walk you through the complicated sequence of events that led to yesterday. By the way, the following details are uncontested by either side.

1. In 1886, the Ottoman Turks sold a 15 dunam (almost 4 acre) plot of land outside the southeastern Wall of the Old City adjacent to the Mount of Olives to Moshe Wittenburg and Nissan Bak. These two leading Jerusalemites were representing the Chabad and Wohlin Hasidic yeshivas who wished to build a cemetery there.

2. Between 1886 and 1948, Wittenburg and Bak transferred legal ownership of the land to the yeshivas. As the owners of the land, the yeshivas paid the property taxes on it.

3. In 1948, the yeshivas lost the land when the Jordanians ethnically cleansed the Old City and eastern neighborhoods of Jerusalem of all Jews. All Jewish property was transferred to the “Jordanian Custodian of Enemy Property Office.”

4. In 1951, the Jordanians occupiers “leased” the land to the local mukhtar who in turn “sold” it to the Al-Ghoul family who in turn “sold” it to the Hamdallah family. The Hamdallah family built a home there in 1952–and attempted to register themselves as the legal owners of the property. Ironically, they were stopped by a clerk in the Jordanian Land Registry Office who noted that according to tax records, the property belonged to “Jews.”

5. Nevertheless, the Jordanian Custodian of Enemy Property Office ruled that the property now belonged to the Hamdallahs, and they were allowed to register themselves as “owners.”

6. After the 1967 War, the yeshivas went to court to regain their land. After 17 years of legal battles, the Israel Supreme Court agreed with their claim in 1984.

7. In 1990, the two yeshivas sold the land to Dr. Irving Moskowitz. He subsequently built the Ma’aleh Har Hazeitim (Mount of Olives) neighborhood apartment complex (110 units) on his property. The property near Ir David (the City of David) and 160 meters from the oldest Jewish cemeteries atop the Mt. of Olives.

8. Beginning in 1995, Moskowitz went through the Israeli judicial system–finally to the Israel Supreme Court–in an attempt to evict the Hamdallahs from their house.

9. On July 21, 2005, the Israel Supreme Court ruled that the Hamdallahs could remain in their house insomuch as they “had believed that they had legally purchased the land back in 1952”. Nevertheless, the Court also ruled that the Hamdallah family could be evicted from any buildings it had constructed on the land after 1989– including “one room” in the main house and two sheds. The “one room” is actually a semi-detached apartment with all the amenities including a garden.

8. The Hamdallahs refused to abide by the ruling and vacate the “the room” and sheds, so Moskowitz returned to court to get an eviction notice–which was finally granted and served on September 1–three days ago.

9. By yesterday morning, when Israeli police arrived to enforce the eviction order, the 3 members of the Hamdallah family who were living in the contested “room” had already vacated the room–much to the dismay of self-proclaimed “human rights activists” who were on the scene. 17 other Hamdallah family members remained in the other part of the house. Moskowitz’s workers and security personnel arrived shortly thereafter and put up strands of barbed wire to prevent the Hamdallahs from attempting to return to the room.

In summary, to read yesterday’s headlines one would would have thought that:

*the Hamdallah family actually owned the property–when in fact, it had been stolen from its rightful owners by the Jordanians and illegally registered by the Hamdallahs with the collusion of the Jordanians . . . 

*the Hamdallah family was the victim of an abrupt extra-judicial “racist” process (the phrase used by Wafa)–when in fact, the case has been in the Israel courts system for 45 years . . .

*the entire Hamdallah family was evicted–when in fact, only 3 out of 20 Hamdallah family members were “evicted” (and those three moved into the other part of the house)

*”right wing Jewish fanatics” had evicted the Hamdallah family–when in fact, the owner of the property had simply insisted on his ownership rights which were enforced by legal authorities . . . 

*the house is in the Ras al-Amud section of eastern Jerusalem–when in fact, it is located in Ma’aleh Har Hazeitim . . .

All in all, what your humble servant finds most revolting is how the Israeli and international media work hand in hand with the so-called “human rights” organizations to paint a blatantly false picture about what is happening in the eastern neighborhoods of Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria. What is even more is how the same media and organizations paint a blatantly false picture of “Jews” as lawbreakers when they are the very people who most adhere to the law and follow the rulings of the Israeli judicial system to the letter–in this case waiting for 45 years for justice to be done.

SPECIAL NOTICE: As regular readers of this blog know, your humble servant enjoys giving a monthly update as to the readership of this blog. August was another stellar month, led by readers from Canada (24 different towns and cities), Australia (20), Brazil (19), Germany (16), Sweden (14), India (10),  and the United States (1,078). And yes, that last number is correct; israelstreet is now reaching more than one thousand American communities each month!

In July we passed the 100 country total–and August saw us add readers in such interesting places as Ringo, Cameroon;  Gasa, Bhutan; Tartu, Estonia; Hargeysa, Somalia; Tamuning, Guam; Almaty, Khazakhstan; Port Louis, Mauritius; Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia; Mbabane, Swaziland; and Nuku’alofa, Tonga. You will recognize some of these locations in the list below.

This brings to 109 the number of countries where people are now readingisraelstreet–countries that are literally in every corner of the world. Your humble servant looks at all of you as part of our israelstreet family. Thank you very much for reading this blog–and sharing its information contains with others. Working together, we can make a difference!

As promised above, here’s an extremely partial list of cities and towns home to readers of this blog (with apologies for the fact that I only have time to list one town or city from each country):

Buenos Aires, Argentina; Sydney, Australia; Eichgraben, Austria; Isa Town, Bahrain; Brussels, Belgium; Gasa, Bhutan; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Stara Zagora, Bulgaria; Minsk, Belarus; Ringo, Cameroon; Wolfville, Canada; Santiago, Chile; Wuhan, China; Bogota, Colombia; Karlovac, Croatia; Mezibori, Czech Republic; Glostrop, Denmark; Quito, Ecuador; Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; Tartu, Estonia; Helsinki, Finland; Pontcharra, France; Halle, Germany; London, Great Britain; Athens, Greece; Tamuning, Guam; San Pedro Sula, Honduras; Budapest, Hungary; Akranes, Iceland; Mumbai, India; Pekanbaru, Indonesia; Goran, Iraq; Pardis, Iran; Dublin, Ireland; Kineret, Israel; Cagliari, Italy; Kingston, Jamaica; Tokyo, Japan; Amman, Jordan; Almaty, Kazakhstan; Seoul, Korea; Kuwait City, Kuwait; Gulbene, Latvia; Beirut, Lebanon; Vilnius, Lithuania; Skopje, Macedonia; Male, Maldives; Misida, Malta; Petaling Jaya, Malaysia; Port Louis. Mauritius; Guadalajara, Mexico; Chisinau, Moldova; Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia; Casablanca, Morocco; Kathmandu, Nepal; Maastrict, Netherlands; Auckland, New Zealand; Managua, Nicaragua; Spangereid, Norway; Muscat, Oman; Islamabad, Pakistan; Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea; Lucena, Philippines; Poznan, Poland; Prime, Portugal; Doha, Qatar; Constanta, Romania; Moscow, Russia; Jiddah, Saudi Arabia; Belgrade, Serbia; Singapore, Singapore; Miloslavov, Slovakia; Videm, Slovenia; Hargeysa, Somalia; Durban, South Africa; Madrid, Spain; Colombo, Sri Lanka, Mbabane, Swaziland; Malmo, Sweden; Brutten, Switzerland; Taipei, Taiwan; Ko Samui, Thailand; Nuku’alofa, Tonga; Radis, Tunisia; Izmir, Turkey; Kiselev, Ukraine; Montevideo, Uruguay; Sharjah, United Arab Emirates; Maracaibo, Venezuela; Hanoi, Vietnam.

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