Arabs, Jews Protest Relocation of Arabs from Jewish Quarter

Jewish and Arab speakers charged at a press conference here today that Arab property was being confiscated in East Jerusalem despite a promise by Mayor Teddy Kollek that Arab residents would not be relocated unless they agreed beforehand. Kollek is presently abroad.

Arabs evacuated from what is designated the Jewish quarter are offered cash compensation or modern housing in a new section of the city. But Ayub Hamiss Betinji who for three years has been fighting a court order to give up his flat, declared today that he would not leave of his own choice. “Why should Jews come here and live in this house when I want to continue living here?” he asked. He insisted that his home is not in the Jewish quarter although maps show that it is. Three Arab families were evacuated from the quarter last week and evacuation orders have been sent to 46 other Arab families still living there.

Shneur Peleg, director general of the Corporation for the Rehabilitation of the Jewish Quarter, said he would not be intimidated by the public campaign of Arabs and their Jewish supporters. Peleg claimed that he was simply carrying out the government’s policy to restore the Jewish quarter after compensating the Arab residents. “All the Arabs who have left have improved their living conditions,” he contended.

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