Washington, DC – Today, Congresswoman Jackie Speier (CA-14) led 25 of her colleagues in sending a letter to Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressing grave concerns over the eviction proceedings against the Sumarin family in East Jerusalem.

In 1989, the Israeli government seized the Sumarin family’s home under Israel’s Absentee Property Law, which permits the state to take control of property owned by Palestinians who reside abroad. Although members of the Sumarin family have continuously lived in their home since 1950, the family now faces eviction and further safety risks due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.

“We believe that the eviction of the Sumarin family and expropriation of their property sets a dangerous precedent that is detrimental to the stability of Jerusalem and further undermines the opportunity for peace,” the Members wrote.  “We are highly concerned 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.”

The Members continued, “As supporters of Israel as a democratic state, we urge you to consider the dangerous legal precedent and negative implications for future peace negotiations should this eviction go forward. We hope you share our concern and commitment to seeing that justice prevails in the Sumarin family’s case.”

A copy of the letter is attached to this press release.


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