JERUSALEM, Tuesday, February 09, 2021 (WAFA) – Palestinians today rallied in protest of the looming dispossession of four Palestinian families in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah and the transfer of their homes to Israeli settlers.
Scores of Palestinians staged a rally in front of the Israeli District Court in Jerusalem as the court convened to hear an appeal against the forced eviction of 17 Palestinian families from their houses from the neighborhood.
Husni Abu Hussein, an attorney representing the afflicted residents of Sheikh Jarrah, said that the District Court has kept the ruling to evict al-Kurd, Skafi, Jaouni and Qassem families from their houses within a maximum period of three months following a legal battle waged against them by Israeli settler organizations who claim the four houses were owned by Jews prior to 1948 and therefore their current residents, who have been living there for decades, should be evicted.
He added that the court would consider for the first time the deeds obtained from the Land Registry that prove the families’ ownership in the neighborhood.
Abu Hussein warned that three other Palestinian families in the same neighborhood are awaiting similar eviction orders in March.
The families facing the imminent threat of dispossession consider initiating criminal proceedings against Israeli settlers at the International Criminal Court (ICC), encouraged by the court’s ruling that it has jurisdiction over the situation in the occupied Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem, occupied in June 1967.
Meanwhile, Coordinator of the Civic Coalition for Human Rights in Jerusalem, Zakaria Odeh, said that Israeli settler-colonialist organizations are using all means to drive the 17 families, comprising 83 members, from their houses in the East Jerusalem neighborhood, which is part of a policy by the Israeli authorities that is being implemented in other East Jerusalem neighborhoods such as Silwan and Isawiyya.
While Israeli courts evict Palestinians from their homes in occupied East Jerusalem under the pretext that the property was once owned by Jews, the courts deny Palestinians who have ownership deeds of homes and lands in West Jerusalem and other parts of what was once called Palestine and today is Israel that were taken over by the Israeli occupying power and handed over to Jewish families after 1948 alleging the homes and lands were taken over during war and therefore their original owners have no right to claim them back.
East Jerusalem’s 300,000 Palestinians are discriminated against in all aspects of life including housing, employment and services, and are also considered residents that could be stripped of their right to live in the city at any time and for any reason.
According to a report by the Israeli human rights group B’Tselem, the Israeli courts could be liable for war crimes for their policies that led to the dispossession of Palestinians.
The report, Fake Justice, shows that the court’s support of Israeli planning policy is tantamount to support for dispossession and forcible transfer of Palestinians, a war crime under international law.
Meanwhile, 81 British parliamentarians representing all parties, in both the House of Commons and the House of Lords, wrote in a letter to the British Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, that the British government must do everything in its power to prevent the mass/forced evictions and dispossession of Palestinian families in occupied East Jerusalem, making a case for the Palestinian families in Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood threatened with eviction in favor of settlers.