Region | Palestine

Israeli eviction of Palestinian families denounced

Israeli police evicted two Palestinian families on Sunday from homes in occupied Arab East Jerusalem and allowed Jewish colonists to move in, despite pressure from Israel's main ally, the United States, to freeze the expansion of colonies.

  • Reuters
  • Published: 22:44 August 2, 2009
  • Gulf News

Occupied Jerusalem: Israeli police evicted two Palestinian families on Sunday from homes in occupied Arab East Jerusalem and allowed Jewish colonists to move in, despite pressure from Israel's main ally, the United States, to freeze the expansion of colonies.

Police said they were acting on eviction orders issued by an Israeli court, which upheld a colonist organisation's land ownership claim based on 19th-century documents.

In legal proceedings stretching back to the 1980s, Palestinians have disputed the claim in the Shaikh Jarrah province that has become a focal point of colonist development plans in occupied East Jerusalem.

"We are thrown out and they let settlers [colonists] inside our house. God is with us," a Palestinian resident screamed at police as Jews entered the dwellings.

Police clad in black uniforms and carrying assault rifles cordoned off the area while the Palestinians' belongings were packed into removal vans. AFP reported that Israeli police clashed with protesters and detained around 10 people. Border guards and an ambulance were seen at the scene of the clashes, the report said.

Israel took the step in the midst of a dispute with the US over President Barack Obama's demand to halt Jewish colony expansion in the West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem.

Robert Serry, the UN special coordinator for the Middle East peace process, called the evictions "totally unacceptable", noting that international mediators recently appealed to Israel to stop "provocative actions" in occupied East Jerusalem.

Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat said Israel was demonstrating its "utter failure" to respect international law.

"Israel, the occupying power, once again has shown its commitment to the settler [colonist] organisations by evicting more than 50 Palestinians, many of them children, from the houses where they have lived for more than 50 years," he said.

Two weeks ago, the US State Department had summoned Israel's ambassador, Michael Oren, and told him plans to build another 20 homes for Jews in occupied East Jerusalem should be suspended.

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