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Palestinian family pledges appeal over Jerusalem eviction ruling

By AFP - Jan 20,2020 - Last updated at Jan 20,2020

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM — A Palestinian family pledged on Monday to appeal an Israeli court order to evict them from their home in a Palestinian East Jerusalem neighbourhood in a case lodged by a settler organisation.

The Israeli anti-settlement NGO Peace Now said a Jerusalem magistrates court ruled Sunday in favour of evicting the Rajabi family from their home in the Silwan neighbourhood following a lawsuit filed by members of the pro-settlement Ateret Cohanim organisation.

The three-storey building houses 17 Palestinians, the family said.

"There is no other home for me and my family to go to," said Nasser Al Rajabi, adding that the youngest member of the family is 18 months old.

"We reject this decision," he said.

The family has lived in the building since 1975, he added, arguing they are "victims of a political game by the Israeli courts and the settler organisations."

The family's lawyer, Mohammed Dahla, said they would file an appeal.

Israel occupied East Jerusalem in the 1967 war and later annexed it in a move never recognised by the international community.

Israel considers all Jerusalem its undivided capital but the Palestinians see the eastern part as the capital of their future state.

Around 200,000 Israeli Jews now live in East Jerusalem in settlement units considered illegal under international law.

A spokesman for Ateret Cohanim told AFP that a number of ownership claims were in progress but he would not comment on specific cases or on his organisation’s involvement.

Peace Now said the family was one of around 100 families threatened by eviction lawsuits filed by Ateret Cohanim, in total putting around 700 people at risk of eviction.

It said the eviction notices were an “attempt to displace a Palestinian community and to replace it with an Israeli one, in the heart of a Palestinian neighbourhood in East Jerusalem”.

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