The media has given considerable coverage to Sheikh Jarrah - and has
swallowed the statements by the Palestinian Authority without bothering to do a basic fact check.
In reality, the Sheikh Jarrah case is identical to what happens in cities across the globe - when tenants don't pay rent and have to be evicted.
The Jerusalem neighborhood today known as Sheikh Jarrah is actually the site of the gravesite of Shimon Hatzadik, a prominent high priest of the Jewish Second Temple period and a pilgrimage site for many Jews.
Shimon Hazadik served from about 300-200 BCE, some 700-800 years before the arrival of Muslim invaders.
This area was legally purchased in 1875 by two Jewish trusts committed to the development of the Jewish population of Jerusalem, as the Jewish community started to build neighborhoods beyond the Old City.
During the War of Independence in 1948, the Jewish residents of these neighborhoods fled for their lives in fear of the attacking Jordanian army.
In 1956, the government of Jordan, which illegally occupied most of Jerusalem, in cooperation with the United Nations Relief Works Association, arranged for the housing of 28 Arab families in the area of the abandoned residential compounds in the Shimon Hatzadik neighborhood.
The families leased the apartments subsequently built from the government of Jordan, paying a nominal rent.
After Israel liberated these areas in the Six Day War in 1967, the Jewish families who had their homes and lands confiscated—and had the deeds to prove it—began proceedings to reclaim them.
In 1972 these claims were accepted by the courts, and ownership was returned to the original owners. An agreement was reached, according to which the Arab families recognized the ownership of the Jewish owners, and in return received the status of protected tenants.
As part of the agreement, the families were afforded long-term rental rights, and undertook to pay rent to the owners and to maintain the apartments.
In practice, despite agreeing to do so, no rent was paid, and the Arabs damaged and destroyed part of the buildings, including an old synagogue.
Like all tenants who refuse to pay their agreed rent and damage property, they were legally called to leave. Eviction notices were issued, but the Arabs refused to leave, despite exhausting all legal avenues open to them.
This is when the Palestinian Authority, possibly to deflect from the fact that its leader Mahmoud Abbas had cancelled elections once again, decided to make an international campaign about an open-and-shut legal dispute.