Palestinians resist forced evictions from homes in favour of Israeli settlers

Archive pic of protests in Sheikh Jarrah. Editorial credit: Ryan Rodrick Beiler

Palestinian residents of an area of East Jerusalem have been resisting their forced eviction in favour of Israeli settlers. 

For several nights Israeli forces have raided the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood of occupied East Jerusalem, spraying skunk water and physically assaulting residents and solidarity protesters.

Last night Israeli border police once again raided the nightly Sheikh Jarrah vigil, set up by residents facing forced displacement from their homes and solidarity activists.

Dozens of people were injured and, according to local Palestinian news agency Maan, at least 10 Palestinians were arrested, including a medic.

Palestinians have been protesting against the forced displacement of people following an Israeli court order which approved a decision to vacate six Palestinian families from their homes in May in favour of Israeli settlers. The same court ruled that another seven families in Sheikh Jarrah are to leave their homes by August 1.

On Monday, at least 20 Palestinians were injured in a brawl after Israeli police stormed a solidarity demonstration with the residents of Sheikh Jarrah, which Israel conquered in 1967 and annexed in a move not recognised by most of the international community.

Since 1956, a total of 37 Palestinian families have been living in 27 homes in the neighbourhood. However, illegal Jewish settlers have been trying to push them out on the basis of a law approved by the Israeli parliament in 1970.

Said Yousef Mohammad Odeh

Around 358,000 Palestinians live in East Jerusalem, the portion of the city captured by Israel from Jordan in 1967, where they have residency rights but generally not Israeli citizenship. The same area is home to 225,000 Jewish Israelis.

But nationalist Jews have long sought to expand the Jewish presence in East Jerusalem’s Palestinian neighbourhoods — whether through covert purchases of Palestinian homes, court-ordered evictions, or the construction of de facto Jewish-only housing projects.

The evictions are based in part on a 1970 Israeli law that allows Jews to reclaim East Jerusalem land owned by Jews before 1948.

But no similar law exists for Palestinians who lost their homes in what is now Israel during the 1948 war and fled to what was then Jordanian-controlled territory.

A final decision on the four families’ futures could come as early as today.

Meanwhile, Israeli troops have shot and killed a 16-year-old Palestinian boy during a raid on a village south of the occupied West Bank city of Nablus, Palestinian officials said.

According to Defense for Children International Palestine (DCIP), Israeli forces situated in an olive tree grove at the entrance of the village of Odala shot Said Odeh twice in the back. An ambulance was prevented from accessing Odeh for 15 minutes, and he was pronounced dead upon arrival after he was transferred to Rafidia hospital in Nablus, it said.

The Israeli military said troops fired towards Palestinians hurling Molotov cocktails at them late on Wednesday near the Palestinian village of Beita, south of Nablus.

“The troops operated to stop the suspects by firing towards them,” an Israeli military spokeswoman said, adding that the incident would be investigated.

Residents of Beita and Odala say there have been protests against the raids by the Israeli forces – who fired tear gas and live ammunition – near the entrances to the villages for the past few nights.

The raids were conducted as part of the Israeli military’s searches in several villages in the area for an alleged Palestinian gunman who opened fire on Sunday at the Za’tara checkpoint in the occupied West Bank, seriously wounding two Israelis and lightly injuring another.


Add your comments below