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Stand-off over Palestinian eviction ends, family says

By AFP - Jan 18,2022 - Last updated at Jan 18,2022

Supporters of the Palestinian Salhiya family gather to protest the family’s eviction by Israeli Police and the Jerusalem municipality, on Tuesday in Jerusalem’s east district of Sheikh Jarrah (AFP photo)

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM — Israeli forces on Tuesday backed down from attempts to evict Palestinians from their home in a Jerusalem flashpoint district, the family said after they threatened self-immolation, triggering a stand-off.

The Salhiya family has been facing the threat of eviction from their home in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood of Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem since 2017, when the land where their home sits was allocated for school construction.

Anger in Sheikh Jarrah where families battled eviction orders fuelled an 11-day war between Israel and armed Palestinian factions in Gaza last year.

When forces arrived to execute the eviction order on Monday, Salhiya family members went up to the building’s roof with gas canisters, threatening to use them on themselves if they were forced out of their home.

An hours-long standoff ensued.

By Tuesday, forces sent for the eviction had already been removed but children of the Salhiya family remained on the roof with the gas canisters, their father Mahmud told AFP.

According to him, no agreement or understandings had been reached, but lawyers for the family filed a petition to the supreme court on Tuesday to cancel the eviction order.

In a Tuesday statement to AFP, the municipality of Jerusalem stressed the Salhiya family had numerous opportunities to move out of their home, deemed illegal and the city had every intention of taking the plot under a district court decision.

Hundreds of Palestinians are facing evictions from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah and other occupied East Jerusalem neighbourhoods. Circumstances surrounding the eviction threats vary.

In some cases Jewish Israelis have mounted legal challenges to claim the plots they say were illegally taken during the war that coincided with Israel’s founding in 1948.

Palestinians say their homes were legally purchased from Jordanian authorities who controlled East Jerusalem between 1948 and 1967.

Israel occupied East Jerusalem in the 1967 June War and later annexed it, in a move not recognised by the international community.

More than 200,000 Jewish settlers have since moved into the area, fuelling tensions with Palestinians, who claim occupied East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.

 

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