Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter said in Jerusalem Friday, "I don't think anyone would ever claim that the demolition of someone's home or the confiscation a home in which a family has lived for many generations is fair, or just, or peaceful.
He was referring to Jerusalem Arabs’ claims on Jewish homes, many of which were bought by Jews who lived there for years until Arab rioters and British authorities forced them out during the pre-State period of the British Mandate.
The former president participated in a weekly demonstration against what foreign media said is the eviction of Arabs from homes in the Sheikh Jarreh (Shimon HaTzaddik in Hebrew) neighborhood. The media reports did not note that the Israeli courts – noted for anti-nationalist rulings – have upheld the evictions after concluding that that they were rightfully owned by Jews.
Arabs also have rejected court orders that they pay rent to the Jewish owners.
Carter congratulated the left-wing supporters and Arabs at the rally for their peaceful protest, although previous rallies have been marked by stone-throwing violence against Jewish residents and police.
He said that the Sheikh Jarreh area and all of the areas of Jerusalem restored to Israel in the 1967 Six-Day War belong to Palestinian Authority Arabs. He did not visit other neighborhoods claimed by the PA, such as Ramot, French Hill, Gilo and Talpiot, where nearly 300,000 Jews live and which are predominantly, if not exclusively, Jewish.
CNN noted that the homes that the Arab claimed in Sheikh Jarreh also were ruled by the courts to have been in Jewish hands long before 1948, but Carter did not refer to the ruling.
His visit concluded a tour in the area that coincided with a new multi-nation convoy sponsored by pro-Hamas British leader George Galloway. Carter joined the members of the self-styled “Elders,” the most prominent being former Irish president Mary Robinson, a rabid critic of Israel. The Elders met with Hamas supreme leader Khaled Mashaal in Damascus before arriving in Israel.
"A solution must be found that respects the human rights of all," Robinson said in a statement, referring to “clever methods” used by Jerusalem “to squeeze the Palestinian population.” Like Carter, she did not comment on the expulsion of Jews from their homes during the Mandate.