Forced displacements violate international law, infringing on essential human rights such as access to adequate housing and a dignified existence.
Lynn Hastings, the UN’s Humanitarian Coordinator in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, has expressed grave concern about the situation in Occupied Jerusalem. According to Hastings, hundreds of Palestinians are in danger of being forcibly removed from their homes by the Israeli occupation authorities.
In an official statement made via Twitter, Hastings noted, “Elderly members of the Sablban family, who have been living in their home in the Old City of Jerusalem since 1954, may be forcibly evicted today, Sunday.”
Hastings emphasised that several hundreds of Palestinians face a similar threat in East Jerusalem, stating, “This devastating practice, in violation of international law, needs to be halted.”
Earlier in the week, the EU Office in Jerusalem echoed these sentiments in a tweet, highlighting that “approximately 150 Palestinian families in East Jerusalem are at risk of being forcibly evicted and displaced.”
The Sablban family’s home, directly overlooking Al-Aqsa Mosque, is situated in a building in Al-Khalidiya in the Old City. Despite settlers seizing parts of the building years ago, the family remained. A legal case was initiated against them in 1978, resulting in several lawsuits with the Israeli occupation and settlers. In one such case in 2000, the family successfully defended their right to remain in the house.
However, in 2010, the occupation authorities transferred the property to the “Ateret Cohanim” settlement association, resulting in further legal battles for the family. By 2016, a ruling from the Israeli Supreme Court restricted the presence of children and grandchildren in the house, allowing only the elderly couple to continue living there.
Under international law, it’s the obligation of the occupier to safeguard the rights of Palestinian citizens, ensuring their safety and stability in their current dwellings. The global community and human rights bodies are urged to respond to these forced eviction cases and exert pressure on the relevant authorities to cease these unlawful practices.