Inside Israel and the Palestinian Territories
In Jerusalem, where political tensions often run high, passions are flaring over the eviction of two Palestinian families in the neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah. Jewish settlers moved into the homes, inside territory Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East war and annexed.
An Israeli settler group said it was reclaiming an area that was previously Jewish-owned (read more here), a position backed by an Israeli court that issued the eviction orders. Palestinians dispute the claim and note that Israeli authorities do not allow them to return to homes from which they fled or were forced to flee in the 1948 MIddle East war.
The evicted families, according to our recent article, “are descendants of refugees who came to the area in 1956, according to the Israeli organisation Ir Amim, which monitors and opposes Jewish settlement in East Jerusalem.”
Israel considers all of its Jerusalem its eternal and united capital, a position that has not won international recognition. Palestinians want to make East Jerusalem the capital of the state they aspire to establish in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Check out this video from Reuters TV, which shows protesters clashing with police in front of one of the houses designated for evication, interviews with an evicted family member and a spokesman for the Yesha council (the settler umbrella group), and footage of the Palestinian families and their furniture being removed.
“No thinking person will be persuaded that Jews have a sweeping right to return to their homes in East Jerusalem,” says the Ha’aretz editorial, “as long as Israeli law not only bars Palestinians from returning to their homes in West Jerusalem, but even evicts them from the houses where they have lived for the last 60 years. The Israel Lands Administration’s regulations do not even allow Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem to buy land and houses in many parts of the city.”
As for the Jerusalem Post: “In this particular rivalry, we side with the Jewish groups, even if this newspaper is sometimes put-off by the way they see the world, because whatever arrangements may ultimately be negotiated for sharing Jerusalem, mainstream Israelis will insist on unfettered access to Mount Scopus via Sheikh Jarrah. As far as British claims of an “ancient” Arab connection to the area, Nadav Shragai convincingly documents, in the latest “Jerusalem Issue Brief” published by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, that the Jewish connection to what is today Sheikh Jarrah predates the founding of both Christianity and Islam.”
What are your views on the housing evictions in East Jerusalem?
PHOTO:A left-wing Israeli activist is detained by border police officers during a protest in East Jerusalem, August 2, 2009. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun.