Israeli police forces evicted a Palestinian family from their East Jerusalem home on Wednesday, after the right-wing Israeli settler organization Elad Association won a court battle over the property that spanned more than two decades. 

The police completely closed the area and forcefully evicted the Siyam family from their home in the Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan. Elad then started to move out the properties of the family.

Left-wing Israeli group Peace Now, which opposes Israeli settlements, said the residents included a 53-year-old woman and her four children. They will temporarily stay with relatives following their forced removal from their home. 

“To take us from the house is like taking my heart from my body,” one of the Palestinian residents, Ali Siyam, said.

The eviction happened just 20 days after the Jerusalem District Court dismissed the Siyam family’s appeal to remain in their house. 

The court ruled in favor of the Elad, which owns majority of the building. It ruled that the Elad, which seeks to increase Jewish presence in the predominantly Palestinian East Jerusalem, legally bought that portion of the property.

The ruling brought an end to decades-long legal battle over the property. Elad has filed six legal cases against the Siyam family in a bid to remove them from the building.

The group first presented a contract to provide proof it bought the entire home from Siyam’s grandmother, who owned the property when she was still alive. The court ruled that the contract was not valid, so Elad lost the case. 

The grandmother left the property to eight family members. Elad then bought the rights from three male heirs and then argued in court that the female heirs yielded their claim to the property to the male members of the family, which means the house is fully owned by Elad. The claim was again dismissed by the court. 

The group then turned to Custodian of Absentee Property, which declares properties that belong to displaced Palestinians as “absentee” and therefore state property. Two of the female heirs living abroad were considered absentees so their share of the house was transferred to the custodian, which then sold it to Elad.

The group also purchased the share of another daughter, which essentially made it the owner of three-quarters of the structure.

Based on this, the court ordered the residents to evacuate their home in favor of the new owner.