Stop The East Jerusalem Evictions!

Published March 19th, 2021 - 06:26 GMT
Protesters against the eviction of the Palestinian families in the Sheikh Jarrah district
Protesters near the house of a Palestinian family, which an Israeli court had ordered to be evicted while declaring Israeli settlers to be the legal owners, Sheikh Jarrah, Jerusalem, Jan. 18, 2019. (AFP)
Calls to stop the eviction of 28 Palestinian families in the Sheikh Jarrah district.

Legal battles aimed at preventing the eviction of 28 Palestinian families from their homes in the Sheikh Jarrah district of Jerusalem on Thursday appeared to be heading for defeat.

Israeli courts have given the residents living in the East Jerusalem neighborhood until May to leave in order to allow Jewish settlers to move in.

Fadi Hidmi, the Palestinian minister of Jerusalem affairs, on Thursday called on the international community to intervene and help stop the evictions.

He praised Jordan for its “continuous support for the people of Jerusalem” and noted the country’s “cooperation with the Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to pass to Jerusalem lawyers authorized original documents that show the rights of the residents of Sheikh Jarrah and debunk Israeli claims.”

Wasfi Kailani, executive director of the Hashemite Fund for the Restoration of Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock, told Arab News that “steadfastness and courage” was required to challenge the replacement policy.

He said Jordan had supplied legal representatives with all available relevant documents relating to the 28 Sheikh Jarrah tenants’ 1956 rental agreements with the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).

Jessica Montel, executive director of HaMoked, an Israeli human rights NGO working in Jerusalem, told Arab News that the Israeli courts were “an accomplice” to the forced displacement of entire families, with the explicit goal of replacing Palestinians with Israeli settlers.

“The hypocrisy is quite blatant: Whereas Jews can reclaim property in East Jerusalem that they owned before 1948, the court has sealed off any option for Palestinians to reclaim property in West Jerusalem,” she said.

The official Palestinian news agency Wafa reported that Hidmi had appealed for “urgent international intervention” to stop evictions in the Jerusalem neighborhoods of Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan.

“The international community is required to intervene immediately and urgently to put pressure on the Israeli government to stop the displacement of Palestinians from their homes in the occupied city, in light of the Israeli governmental and judicial institutions’ insistence on flouting international legitimacy decisions,” he said.

The minister claimed that driving Palestinians out of their homes in the city was politically motivated and aimed at implementing colonial settlement plans. “What is taking place is a systematic programmed process of replacing the Palestinians expelled from their land and property with foreign settlers,” he added.

Dana Mills, director of development and external relations with the Israeli Peace Now organization, said: “The court is only the tool by which settlers with the close assistance of state authorities use to commit the crime of displacing an entire community and replacing it with the settlement.”

She pointed out that the Israeli government and settlers had no problem displacing thousands of Palestinians in Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan in the name of “the right of return” to properties before 1948, while they strongly claimed that the millions of Israelis living in Palestinian properties before 1948 could not be evicted.

“Since the evacuation of the Moghrabi (Moroccan Quarter) neighborhood for the purpose of expanding the Western Wall Plaza in 1967, there has been no such deportation in Jerusalem. The government can still stop this injustice,” Mills added.

Nabil Abu Rudeineh, spokesman for the Palestinian presidency, condemned “the endless Israeli assaults against the Palestinian people,” adding that the measures would “not bring peace to anyone.”

Although Palestinians live in East Jerusalem – a part of the internationally recognized Palestinian territory that has been subject to Israeli military occupation since 1967 – they are denied citizenship rights and are instead classified as residents whose permits could be revoked if they moved away from the city for more than a few years.

This article has been adapted from its original source.

Copyright: Arab News © 2021 All rights reserved.

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