Tuesday, November 23, 2010
As some of you may have heard Israeli police and settlers this morning (23 November) forcibly evicted 3 Palestinian families from their home in Al Farouq neighbourhood of Jabal al Mukabber in East Jerusalem.
We are still following up to ascertain the facts of the case, but wanted to send you a brief update at this early stage.
According to the information we have at the moment, a large force of Israeli police and border police forcibly evicted the families between 9.00 and 10.00 this morning. Immediately following the eviction the building was handed over to a group of settlers that reportedly are affiliated with the settler organization El Ad. The settler group is currently undertaking some work on the premises, possibly to fortify the building.
The building in question consists of a 3 separate apartments located on 3 floors. It was inhabited by the Qara'in family, which includes 3 nuclear families of 14 people, including 5 children ranging from 3 to 10 years of age. The families are currently sheltering with their neighbours, having no alternative place to live.
The grounds for the eviction are not entirely clear, but according to initial reports the settler group claims to have purchased the building from a deceased relative of the family a few years ago. The family and their lawyer tried to challenge these claims before Israeli courts, but were unsuccessful.
This eviction yet again raises serious concerns about the ongoing establishment and expansion of Israeli settlements in the occupied territory, in particular in Palestinian neighbourhoods in East Jerusalem. In addition to Jabal al Mukabber, similar developments have been observed in other Palestinian areas, such as in Sheikh Jarrah, Silwan and the Old City. It is worth noting that the prohibition on the transfer of settlers into occupied territory under international law applies regardless of the means or methods used for the acquisition of property and as such should cease immediately.
If any of you can assist the families, in particular with alternative housing/shelter and other basic needs (much of their furniture and personal belongings have been lost), please let us know as soon as possible.
We will continue to monitor the case and will keep you posted.