“They are no longer afraid”: Palestinians promise to fight evictions in Jerusalem News of the Israel-Palestine conflict


Occupied East Jerusalem – The Jerusalem district court postponed a ruling this week on an appeal by seven Palestinian families, made up of 44 people, facing eviction from their homes in the Batan al-Hawa area of ​​Silwan.

Palestinians say, however, that what they see as the “Judicialization” of East Jerusalem, which incorporates expulsions, will continue is a matter of time.

The court delay came on Wednesday following the magistrate’s previous ruling that the families, who are part of 19 families in Batan al-Hawa, would be evicted from their homes to make way for Israeli settlers who claim to be there. they lived before 1948, when the state of Israel was established.

“Court will delay ruling because situation is very tense in East Jerusalem now also because of Palestinian families before the expulsion to Sheikh Jarrah and raids on the Al-Aqsa Mosque, ”Al Jazeera Fakhri Abu Diab, head of the Silwan Land and Real Estate Defense Committee and investigator in Jerusalem affairs, told Al Jazeera.

“With US Secretary of State Antony Blinken currently in the region, it is also not a good time to proceed to leave the Palestinians homeless,” Abu Diab said.

“However, Israeli courts will eventually side with the settlers in the future and the expulsions will continue.”

“She’s not afraid anymore”

Clashes recently erupted in Shekih Jarrah for several weeks as Palestinians protested the pending eviction of several families from their homes and clashed with Israeli security forces, resulting in many injuries and arrests.

Walid Husseini – nephew of the late Faisal Husseini who was the liaison representative for the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in the 1991 peace talks at the Madrid Conference – told Al Jazeera this time that the Palestinians will not give up when the expulsions begin again.

“The situation on the ground is similar to that of the first Intifada, as more Palestinians are becoming politicized and no longer afraid,” said Husseini, a former journalist who participated in the first Palestinian uprising.

“They have resigned from the powerless Palestinian Authority just as they previously resigned from the corrupt Palestinian leadership of the PLO.

“They realize they have to take matters into their own hands, as the international community will not pressure Israel.”

Walid Husseini says the situation on the ground is similar to the first Palestinian uprising [Mel Frykberg/Al Jazeera]

Palestinian fears about the Judiciary of East Jerusalem seem to be backed up by facts on the ground and Israeli claims that Jerusalem will remain united and the capital of Israel forever.

The Israeli expulsion of Palestinians from their homes in East Jerusalem has been an ongoing process over the years, followed by periods of calm and delays as international criticism increased and pressure on Israel increased.

The Israeli organization Peace Now said the planned evictions were part of broader plans by Israeli settler movements, in coordination with Israeli authorities, to expel some 100 families from Batan al-Hawa, based on property claims. ‘before 1948.

A number of settlers who used to live in the area before 1948 were financially compensated by the Israeli government.

However, under Israeli law, displaced Palestinians from West Jerusalem and other areas of Israel’s internationally recognized green line are not eligible for compensation and have no legal rights to reclaim their land. .

“Cease all agreement”

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) has said the pending expulsions were part of Israeli law, including specific laws that facilitate the acquisition of property for the establishment of Israeli settlements.

A follow-up survey conducted by OCHA in 2020 revealed that at least 218 Palestinian households in East Jerusalem filed deportation cases against them, most initiated by settler organizations, which placed 970 people, including 424 children, at risk of displacement. .

“Most new cases were identified in the Batan al-Hawa area of ​​Silwan, which remains the community with the highest number of people at risk of displacement due to ongoing eviction cases,” dit OCHA.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in a recent report that the Israeli authorities “must immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the United States. [occupied Palestinian territories] including East Jerusalem, ”reviewing the application of certain Israeli laws“ that have been used as a basis for evicting Palestinians from their properties in East Jerusalem ”and“ stopping demolitions and forced evictions ”.

The Judiciary of East Jerusalem goes beyond the expulsions that have taken place and the planned ones.

According to the UN, the Palestinians are fighting for building permits and can only build 15% of occupied East Jerusalem, although they represent 40% of its population, while 30% of East Jerusalem is destined for the construction of illegal Israeli settlements.

Jerusalem’s bureaucracy is limiting Palestinian construction by constantly refusing to draw up detailed urban construction plans (a prerequisite for receiving building permits) for Palestinian neighborhoods, Israeli rights group B’Tselem said.

The declaration of parts of the territory of East Jerusalem National Park further restricts Palestinian access and so far four national parks have been declared in the occupied part of the city.

Revocation of residence

Israeli policy in East Jerusalem was aimed at pressuring the Palestinians to leave, thus shaping a geographical and demographic reality that would frustrate any future attempt to challenge Israeli sovereignty there, B’Tselem said.

“Palestinians leaving East Jerusalem, because of this policy or for other reasons, risk losing their permanent residence and the social benefits that flow from it,” the organization said.

“Since 1967, Israel has revoked the permanent residence of some 14,500 Palestinians in East Jerusalem in these circumstances.”

OCHA said Israeli measures have increasingly cut off East Jerusalem, once focused on the political, commercial, religious and cultural life of the Palestinian population in the occupied Palestinian territory, the rest of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Muhammad, a Silwan professor who did not want his full name to be published, told Al Jazeera that Israelis were making life difficult for Palestinians in busy East Jerusalem with mass arrests, indiscriminate night attacks and checks on the city.

“I’m afraid of my family and I won’t allow my children, especially my children, to go far on foot, so I insist on driving them everywhere,” he said.

“The rest of the time I make sure they stay home and, to be honest with you, I’m very scared for my children’s future.”

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