Israeli settlers took over a Palestinian house this noon in Silwan after Israeli occupation officers forced the Palestinian inhabitants out using gunfire.
Occupation forces emptied the house before handing it to the settlers’ organisation Ateret Cohanim.
The property is part of a building of five floors located in the Batn Al-Hawa neighbourhood of Silwan, south of Al-Aqsa Mosque, the rest of the building has been occupied by settlers since 2015.
Jawad Abu Snaineh had rented the house and lived there for years with his family which is made up of 11 members, they have been left homeless as a result.
According to the Wadi Hilweh Information Centre, the Abu Snaineh family has been protecting the house from being transferred to settlers for years. This area of East Jerusalem has been a target of the Ateret Cohanim right-wing Israeli organisation that aims to handover Palestinian-owned properties in Jerusalem to Israeli settlers.
Earlier this month, Israeli settlers took control of three Palestinian properties in occupied East Jerusalem. Such events are justified by Israeli courts. According to recent report by the Israeli human rights NGO Peace Now:
Settler organisations, equipped with vast sums of money from anonymous sources through offshore companies, are trying to fundamentally change the character of East Jerusalem.
Since 2002, 700 Palestinians have been evicted from their homes in Batn Al-Ahawa. Their properties have been transferred to the Benvenisti Trust that claims it purchased the land in the late 1800s to settle Jews arriving to Palestine from Yemen. Last June, Israel admitted that the decision to evict Palestinian families from Batn Al-Ahawa was “flawed”, and the nature of the trust had not been examined before the land was transferred to the settlers.
Despite the admission, hundreds of Palestinians remain unable to access their properties and are enduring lengthy and costly legal battles in Israeli courts where hearings are conducted as if the matter were a land ownership dispute between two equal parties.