JERUSALEM, Tuesday, June 22, 2021 (WAFA) – Minister of Jerusalem Affairs Fadi al-Hidmi today warned of a serious escalation as the international community remains silent on the forced expulsions of Palestinian families from East Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood.
Al-Hidmi denounced the Monday’s unbridled attacks carried out by Israeli settlers and police against the defenseless Palestinian residents of the neighborhood as a serious escalation and one of the most heinous crimes inflicted by police officers and settlers on the neighborhood residents.
He pointed that Israeli police allowed the settlers free hand to carry out the attack, which resulted in wounding 20 Palestinians, and even participated in it as it continued to seal off the neighborhood and deny Palestinians access to it using barriers and cement blocks.
“What is going on is a crime intended to forcefully uproot the Palestinian residents from their houses in the neighborhood,” al-Himdi added as he called on the international community to intervene to stop the forced expulsions without any further delay.
On Monday evening, Israeli settlers, protected by police, hurled stones at Palestinian houses in the neighborhood, torched a house belonging to al-Kassem family and obstructed attempts to put out the fires.
Settlers threw chairs, rocks and fireworks outside residents homes, with video circulating on social media of the attack in Sheikh Jarrah.
As the settlers carried out their attack, police officers opened fire towards the residents and used stun grenades and skunk water to attack them, injuring at least 20 Palestinians and detaining two others.
They attempted to break into the al-Kurd family’s house in the neighborhood. Muna and Mohammed, two siblings from the family, have been campaigning passionately against the Israeli regime’s activities targeting the area, prompting it to put them under arrest on at least one occasion.
Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) said that its medics treated 20 injuries, including three suffering from pepper spray, 13 others suffering from tear gas suffocation, two others hit by rubber-coated steel bullets and two others who sustained bruises from severe beating. One of the severely beaten casualties was an elderly who was rushed to a hospital for urgent treatment.
PRCS added that settlers attacked one of its ambulances with stones as police directly sprayed another ambulance with skunk water.
Sheikh Jarrah has been the scene of frequent crackdowns by Israeli police on Palestinians protesting against the threatened expulsion of dozens of Palestinian families from their homes in favour of Israeli settler groups.
Palestinians have maintained their the Israeli occupation authorities decision to “evict” the families from their houses in favor of the settler groups is politically-motivated and comes as part of Israel’s efforts to ethnically cleanse Jerusalemite Palestinians.
Since the occupation of Jerusalem by Israel in June 1967, Israeli settlers colonial organizations, namely Elad and Ateret Cohanim, have claimed ownership of Palestinian property in Jerusalem. Backed by the Israeli state, judiciary and security services, these organizations have been working on wresting control of Palestinian property and convert it into colonial outposts as part of the efforts to ensure a Jewish majority in the city, as well as on managing archaeological sites in Silwan and overseeing their excavation. This scheme involves building new colonial tourist sites, such as the “City of David”, to bolster their propaganda.