Shimon Hatzaddik (Sheikh Jarrah) and surrounding area
Shimon Hatzaddik (Sheikh Jarrah) and surrounding areaNati Shohat/Flash90

An Arab family living on Jewish-owned property in eastern Jerusalem has agreed to recognize the rightful Jewish owners’ rights to the real estate and to return the property, in exchange for the right to remain as tenants for the foreseeable future.

According to a report by Israel Hayom Wednesday morning, as Arab squatters in the Shimon Hatzaddik (Sheikh Jarrah) neighborhood in the capital await a ruling by the Israeli Supreme Court, one Arab family has reached a deal with the Jewish organization which owns the home in which they live.

The property in question was purchased by Jewish charities in the 19th century, and housed impoverished Jewish families up until Israel’s 1948 War of Independence, when Transjordan occupied eastern Jerusalem and forced Jewish residents to flee.

The Jewish-owned properties in the area were confiscated by the Jordanian government and leased to Arab families, who paid rent to the Jordanian government.

After the 1967 Six Day War, however, the Arab families residing in the properties in question ended their rent payments, while Jewish organizations sought to reassert their ownership.

While Israeli courts have repeatedly upheld the rights of the Jewish owners, the actual transfer of control of the properties and eviction of squatters has taken years and faced repeated legal delays.

With the Supreme Court set to rule on an appeal by a group of Arab squatters against a decision by the Jerusalem District Court, one family – which did not join the appeal – has agreed to return the home to its Jewish owners, in exchange for the right to remain as residents.

Under the terms of the deal, which was given the force of a legal ruling by the Jerusalem Magistrates Court recently, the residents will be guaranteed the right to remain in the home for at least 10 years as protected residents.

The deal is a blow to the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, which have urged Arab residents not to accept a similar deal offered by the Supreme Court aimed at avoiding mass evictions, which would grant residents protected tenant status in exchange for transferring control of the properties.