Arab Organisation for Human Rights in the UK (AOHR UK) decries the reluctance of the international community and the countries of the Arab region to respond to the expulsion of Palestinian families of Sheikh Jarrah from their homes – residents of the neighbourhood and East Jerusalem (or al-Quds) have been abandoned to the attacks of settlers and the occupying administration, which protects the settlers through the courts.
Over many years, the people of the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood have been torn from their homes. The pace of this process has increased in recent days, after the Israeli Supreme Court gave Palestinian citizens until Thursday 6 May to reach a leasing agreement with the settlers – on the grounds that the settlers are the owners. This was rejected by the Palestinian citizens in a response submitted to the Supreme Court by the victims’ representatives on 6 May. In turn, the court has postponed the case until the 10th of this month, in order to hear the appeal of four families threatened with eviction.
A history of expulsions
In mid-February, the Israeli Central Court ruled to expel seven Palestinian families living in Sheikh Jarrah from their homes, rejected their appeals, and forced them to evacuate. A second family was forced to leave their home on 8 January. Each family was obliged to pay 20,000 shekels (equivalent to $6,050) as compensation to the settlers.
AOHR UK has stressed that the families of the Sheikh Jarrah are suffering a terrible violation of laws, treaties, and international agreements – and a clear falsification of history, since the neighborhood has been inhabited by Palestinian Jerusalemite families for hundreds of years. Other families joined them in the mid-fifties after being forcibly displaced from their homes in Jaffa and Haifa.
The occupying government’s ability to implement its settlement projects and plans to Judaize Jerusalem is due to the hypocrisy of the major powers and their refusal to take practical measures to deter the occupation, whilst the focus of various Arab regimes has been on repressing their own citizens – in between concluding normalisation deals with the occupation, and themselves investing in settlements.
AOHR UK affirms that the international disregard for the occupation’s crimes against the Palestinians has created a new Nakba, this time it is being broadcast to the whole world – though it is one that has turned its back on the afflicted Palestinian people, leaving them open to abuse by an occupying regime that continuously challenges international laws and norms.
AOHR UK calls on the International Criminal Court (ICC) to expedite the opening of an investigation into the removal of families and the demolition of homes in Jerusalem and to hold all those responsible for this crime accountable – including the judges who play such an important role in the settlers’ control of Palestinian real estate in occupied East Jerusalem.
AOHR UK furthermore calls on the international community to break its silence and to take serious and decisive measures to deter the occupying government – which is working systematically to displace Palestinians and change the ethnic composition of Jerusalem.