Israeli court postpones Silwan’s forced displacement hearing | News


An Israeli court has postponed the hearing in the case of two Palestinian families facing forced evictions from their homes in the Batn al-Hawa area of ​​the occupied East Silwan neighborhood of Jerusalem.

The Ghaith and Abu Nab families were joined by a group of supporters who gathered in front of the Israeli central court on Thursday to protest against forced evictions.

Israeli forces attacked the protesters and arrested three Palestinians identified as Basel al-Dweik, Adel al-Silwadi and Nitham Abu Ramooz.

The court hearing was delayed until August 7.

The Ghaith and Abu Nab families are two of hundreds threatened with forced eviction from their homes in the Silwan and Sheikh Jarrah neighborhoods, where Israeli settler organizations seek to replace Palestinians with Israelis.

Israeli forces detain a Palestinian in front of the Israeli Central Court in occupied East Jerusalem on June 10, 2021, during a protest against Israel’s planned forced displacement of Palestinian families from homes in the Silwan district [Ahmad Gharabli/AFP]

Last month, an Israeli court he postponed his decision in an appeal filed by seven other Palestinian families in Silwan facing forced displacement from their home.

Earlier this week, the Jerusalem municipality issued a series of demolition orders to residents of the al-Bustan area in Silwan. The affected families, made up of about 1,500 people, were given 21 days to evacuate and demolish their homes themselves. If it did not, the municipality would demolish the houses and the families would have to cover the demolition costs.

Since 2005, al-Bustan residents have been warned to demolish nearly 90 homes under the pretext of building without permission, in favor of a settler organization seeking to turn the land into a national park and link it. with the archaeological “City of David” park.

According to Grassroots Jerusalem, a Palestinian NGO, both house demolitions and court-ordered forced displacements are tactics to evict Palestinian residents.

In a statement on Thursday, the Palestinian rights organization Al-Haq said Palestinians in occupied East Jerusalem make up the majority of the population, but “Israeli zoning laws have allocated 35 percent of the land area for the construction of illegal settlements by Israeli settlers. “

Another 52 percent of the land surface has been “assigned as” green areas “and” unplanned areas “in which construction is prohibited,” the statement said.

A photograph taken on June 3, 2021 shows Silwan, just outside the Old City, in East Jerusalem occupied by Israel [Thomas Coex/AFP]

“Clear discrimination”

Silwan is located south of the old city of Jerusalem, next to its walls.

At least 33,000 Palestinians live in the neighborhood, which have been targeted by Israeli settler organizations for years. In some cases, Palestinian residents have been forced to share houses with settlers.

Some of these families have lived in Silwan for more than fifty years since they were displaced from the Old City in the 1960s.

In 2001, Ateret Cohanim, an Israeli settler organization that aims to acquire land and increase the Jewish presence in occupied East Jerusalem, took control of a historic Jewish land trust.

Established in the 19th century, the board of trustees bought land in the area to relocate Yemeni Jews at the time. The settlers’ organization has claimed in court that the trust it controls owns the land.

Under Israeli law, if Jews can prove that their families lived in East Jerusalem before the establishment of Israel in 1948, they can request the “return” of their property, even if Palestinian families are there. they have been living for decades. The law only applies to Israelis and Palestinians do not have the same rights under the law.

“There is clear discrimination here, where Jews can claim any property they claim to own in the past before 1948, while Palestinians who lost their homeland in 500 villages within Israel, including West Jerusalem, do not they can claim their property, ”Mohammed Dahleh, a lawyer representing some of the Silwan families, told Al Jazeera.

“These families cannot claim their properties, even though they hold Israeli identity cards and are considered residents of the state of Israel by Israeli law,” he continued.

“This means that this community, if the Israeli courts finally approve of this type of forced displacement, will become refugees for the second time.”

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