Sunday, May 22

Israeli police destroy Palestinian family’s home in Jerusalem

The ruins of a Palestinian family’s home destroyed by Israeli police in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem on January 19, 2022 AHMAD GHARABLI

After multiple attempts, the Israeli police destroyed before dawn on Wednesday the house of a Palestinian family in the sensitive district of Sheikh Jarrah, which has become the symbol of the struggle against Israeli colonization in East Jerusalem.

Police went to the home of the Salhiya family, threatened with eviction since 2017 and the subject of a support campaign in the Palestinian Territories and abroad, and evacuated its members, according to a video uploaded by the police.

An AFP photographer then saw the demolition of the house in Sheikh Jarrah, a Palestinian neighborhood located in East Jerusalem, the eastern part of the Holy City occupied since 1967 and then annexed by Israel. It was destroyed by a mechanical shovel, according to witnesses.

“Overnight, the police implemented the order to evict illegal buildings on land intended for a school for children requiring special care in East Jerusalem,” police said in a statement. , adding that the Salhiya family had “repeatedly” refused to “agree to return this land”.

On Monday, when the police arrived to try to evict them, members of the Salhiya family took refuge with a barrel of petrol on the roof of their house, threatening to set themselves on fire if they were forced to leave the premises.

Negotiations followed to avoid violence and the family filed a petition with the Supreme Court to overturn the eviction order from the municipality. It was not immediately known whether the Court had rendered a decision.

– Hundreds of families threatened –

During their nightly operation, police said they made 18 arrests. Police were still on site at the foot of the ruins early in the morning.

The Salhiya family has been under threat of eviction since 2017 after the land on which their house stood was allocated for building a school. Advocacy groups for this family believe the school could be built elsewhere in town.

In May, demonstrations in support of Palestinian families threatened with eviction in Sheikh Jarrah escalated into clashes with Israeli police and settlers, protests that sparked a new outbreak of deadly violence between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, in power in the Gaza Strip, a Palestinian territory under Israeli blockade.

In East Jerusalem, hundreds of Palestinian families who have been there for decades are facing eviction orders for Jewish settlers. Seven families have already appealed to the Supreme Court against eviction notices.

– The thorniest questions –

Some 210,000 Israelis live in East Jerusalem in settlements that are illegal under international law.

Israel regards the entire city of Jerusalem as its capital, while the Palestinians want to make East Jerusalem the capital of the state to which they aspire.

According to Israeli law, if Jews can prove that their family lived in East Jerusalem before the 1948 war and the creation of the State of Israel, they can ask to have their “property rights” restored. “.

However, such a law does not exist for Palestinians who have lost their property. And the Palestinian families claim to have legally purchased their properties from the Jordanian authorities, who controlled East Jerusalem from 1948 to 1967.

But according to the deputy mayor of Jerusalem, Fleur Hassan-Nahoum, the case of the Salhiyas is “an entirely different story”. The family is illegally using land that never belonged to them, she said, assuring that the municipality had bought it “from Arab owners” in order to build a school there.

The status of Jerusalem is one of the thorniest issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that has lasted for more than half a century, while peace negotiations between the protagonists have stalled for several years. The international community has never recognized the annexation of East Jerusalem.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.