Occupied Jerusalem (In Palestine Today)- An appeal by four Palestinian families living in Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in occupied East Jerusalem against their eviction from their homes for the benefit of Israeli settlers has been rejected by the Israeli District Court in Jerusalem.
The court upheld the eviction order, as Wadi Hilweh Information Center reported, and it gave the four families until May 2 to implement the eviction decision.
Wadi Hilweh quoted the families’ lawyer, Sami Irsheid, saying the District Court upheld the October ruling of the Magistrates Court in favor of evicting Skafi, Kurd, Jaouni, and Qassem families from their homes following a lawsuit filed by Israeli settlers claiming that the land where the houses are located was owned by Jews prior to the 1948 Arab-Israeli war that ended in ‘Israel’ occupying most of Palestine and displacing three-quarters of its citizens who became refugees until today.
Irsheid said settler organizations, which claimed ownership of the land where the homes are located in what is known as the Karm al-Jaouni area in Sheikh Jarrah, have registered it in the Israeli lands department as their own.
The District Court refused to allow discussion of ownership of the land despite attempts by the lawyers to prove that the settlers do not own the land on which the housing project was built in 1956 by the Jordanian government and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) for the Palestinians displaced following the Israeli occupation in 1948.
The families plan to appeal their case to the Israeli High Court.
Over 80 British parliamentarians representing all parties, in both the House of Commons and the House of Lords, have sent a letter to the British Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, urging the British government to do everything in its power to prevent the mass/forced evictions and dispossession of Palestinian families in Jerusalem.
“As you are well aware, the forcible transfer of an occupied population is a grave violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention, as is the transfer of an occupier’s population into occupied territory, which includes East Jerusalem,” the parliamentarians said in the letter.
“All this occurs in the context of Israel’s illegal annexation of occupied East Jerusalem and internationally condemned practices that include the forcible transfer of Palestinian families and settlement expansion throughout the occupied Palestinian territories.”
About 200 families in Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan are in danger of being dispossessed following a legal battle waged against them by Israeli settler organisations.
“We believe that given the huge scale of this planned dispossession which would amount to the largest displacement of Palestinians since 1967, diplomatic words of concern are insufficient,” the parliamentarians stated.
“Members of the Britain-Palestine All Party Parliamentary Group recently heard from Palestinian writer Mohammed El-Kurd and Israeli settlement expert, and Director of Peace Now’s Settlement Watch Programme, Hagit Ofran about the looming threat of dispossession that hundreds of Palestinians face in East Jerusalem, in neighbourhoods such as Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan.’
“As neighbours to these Palestinian families in Sheikh Jarrah, the British Consulate in Jerusalem knows full well of the anxieties and trauma that exists, not least because some of our own Consulate colleagues are part of these families.
They also stated that “all measures should be on the table” for the UK government, “including reducing diplomatic engagement and banning trade in settlement products in full conformity with international law obligations in order to challenge the settler economy that profits from the occupation.”