The Israeli police destroyed on Wednesday the house of a Palestinian family in the Sheikh Jarrá neighborhood, which has become a symbol of the struggle against Israeli colonization in East Jerusalem and the scene of strong tensions.
Israeli policemen went to the home of this family threatened with expulsion since 2017 and the object of a support campaign in the Palestinian Territories and abroad at dawn, and evacuated the people who were there, according to a video published by the police, which he made about twenty arrests during the operation.
An AFP photographer then saw the demolition of the house in this Palestinian neighborhood of East Jerusalem, the eastern part of the Holy City occupied since 1967 and later annexed by Israel. It was destroyed by a bulldozer, witnesses said.
“Overnight, the Israeli police executed the eviction order for illegal buildings on a plot of land intended for a school intended for children requiring special care in East Jerusalem,” the Israel Police said in a statement.
The police stated that the Salhiya family repeatedly refused to “agree to hand over the land”.
On Monday, shortly after the arrival of the police to carry out the eviction, members of the Salhiya family barricaded themselves with a barrel of gasoline on the roof of their house, threatening to blow themselves up if they were forced to leave the site. Given this, negotiations were held to avoid violence.
In May, demonstrations in support of Palestinian families threatened with expulsion in Sheikh Jarrah degenerated into clashes with settlers and the Israeli police, prior to a wave of bloody violence between Israel and the ruling Palestinian movement Hamas in Gaza, a blockaded Palestinian enclave. Israeli.
– Arrests –
Israeli police said they made 18 arrests in the operation.
According to lawyer Walid Abu Tayeh, 20 people were arrested, including the father of the family, Mahmud Salhiya, and other members of the group – which he defends – and activists who came to support them.
“The eviction decision concerns only Mahmud Salhiya and his wife,” who is an Israeli Jew, added the lawyer, specifying that the Supreme Court will examine the case on January 23.
About 20 people lived in the 120-m2 house: Mahmud Salhiya, his wife and children, as well as his mother and sister and her children, according to the lawyer.
After the demolition, several members of the family moved into neighboring houses and others stayed near the ruins.
According to the Israeli municipality, the land was destined to build a school. Groups that defend the family consider that it could have been raised in another place.
– Prickly matter –
Hundreds of Palestinians face expulsion orders from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah and other neighborhoods in East Jerusalem.
More than 300,000 Palestinians and 210,000 Israelis now live in East Jerusalem, the latter in illegal settlements under international law.
Israel regards the entire city of Jerusalem as its capital, while the Palestinians want to make East Jerusalem the capital of their aspiring state.
Under 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 for their “property rights” to be returned.
But there is no such law for Palestinians who have lost their property. The Palestinians say their houses were legally purchased from the Jordanian authorities who controlled East Jerusalem between 1948 and 1967.
Israel seized East Jerusalem in the Six Day War in 1967 and later annexed it, in a move not recognized by the international community.
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