Confrontation Arises upon the evacuation of another Palestinian Family in Sheikh Jarrah
Palestine–On Monday, Palestinians were locked in a tense confrontation with Israeli security personnel in Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, who were attempting to evict a family. When Israeli soldiers arrived to remove the residents and a number of gas canisters from the home, they had barricaded themselves and a number of them on the roof.
Mahmoud Salhiyeh, speaking from the rooftop, claimed he would burn himself and his home on fire rather than see his family evicted. “I’m going to set fire to the home and everything in it.” Mr Salhiyeh, carrying a jerrycan he claimed held petrol, stated, “I will not leave here.”
A fire engine and an ambulance were parked nearby, while dozens of highly armed police officers encircled the structure. After the Jerusalem municipality chose to expropriate the land to establish a school, the Salhiyeh family lost a protracted court struggle to save their home. Several additional Palestinians in Sheikh Jarrah face expulsion as a result of rules passed after Israel occupied East Jerusalem in the 1967 Arab-Israeli conflict.
Sven Kuhn von Burgsdorff, the head of the EU representation in Jerusalem, and other officials paid a visit to the site. “This is occupied territory,” says the narrator. Under international law, any eviction or destruction in occupied territory is unlawful,” he told The National. Israeli police began dismantling a plant nursery on the parcel of property as the day progressed. A group of demonstrators headed by another Sheikh Jarrah resident chanted “Freedom!” and “No occupation!”
The Jerusalem municipal government did not respond immediately to news that the eviction order had been temporarily suspended. “The family really wants to know that this isn’t a ruse, that this isn’t just for a day and then they’ll be evicted,” said Hagit Ofran of the Israeli NGO Peace Now. She said, “They were scared it was just a ruse to get them off the roof.”
Last year, protests over the removal of Palestinian residents in Sheikh Jarrah garnered international attention. Plaintiffs who support Israeli settlers claim to have property documents dating back to before the residences were built in certain cases. The Supreme Court of Israel is yet to make a final decision.