Sunday, January 29

A Palestinian family barricades themselves in their house and threatens to burn it down to try to stop their eviction

A Palestinian family has been entrenched with gasoline and gas cylinders in their East Jerusalem house since Monday morning trying to block its demolition by the Israeli authorities, who have a controversial court order for their eviction.

“We hope that the Mayor’s Office and the Police will do the right and reasonable thing and cancel the eviction. But as long as there is no written commitment, it is difficult to believe it,” a committee in support of the Salhiya family said in a statement, after Israeli bulldozers will demolish the nursery next to the house on Monday.

The Jerusalem City Council has expropriated the land on which this family has lived since the 1950s and this Monday, its 15 members barricaded themselves in the house, without electricity since the electricity cut this afternoon, and have threatened to “blow it up.” “if they are forced to abandon it.

“We have been in this house since the 1950s and we have been fighting eviction for 25 years. They have offered us money to leave and we have fought to save our home,” said Abdallah Ikiramhawi, one of the family members.

The case of the Salhiya is one of the dozens of expulsion orders that affect the Palestinian residents of the central neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, most of them due to demands by Jews who claim ownership of the houses, but in this case it is the Israeli authorities that they have decreed the expropriation of the land to build a school.

The Salhiya, like a large part of the residents of this neighbourhood, have been Palestinian refugees since the creation of the State of Israel in 1948.

The Israeli police maintains a wide security device since this morning and has prevented access to the house and the street, near which neighbors and pro-Palestinian activists have gathered during the day. Finally, local journalists have reported that the Israeli bulldozer he left the house in the afternoon.

The diplomatic missions of the European Union, including Spain, have also gone to the neighborhood, which has registered high tension this Monday, and have asked to postpone the eviction until the court hearing on this case scheduled for January 23 is held.

“It is imperative to de-escalate the situation and seek a peaceful resolution. Evictions and demolitions are illegal under international law and significantly undermine the prospects for peace, in addition to fueling tensions on the ground,” said the EU diplomatic mission in Jerusalem in a statement.

“Here there is a huge crime against Palestinians, as in all of East Jerusalem under occupation and as in all of the West Bank,” said Ofer Kasif, a deputy for the leftist United List coalition in the Israeli Parliament, who has also approached the neighborhood.

The imminent expulsion orders in this emblematic neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah have generated strong local and international opposition and last May triggered numerous protests that led to the escalation of the armed militias from Gaza.

East Jerusalem, home to more than 300,000 Palestinians and 200,000 Israeli settlers, is occupied and annexed by Israel, which imposes its civil laws against the international norm.





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