Palestinian families in Sheikh Jarrah "live in constant fear of being forcibly displaced… and are traumatised by settler violence", Commissioner-General of UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), Philippe Lazzarini, said yesterday.
He made the remarks during a visit to eight Palestine refugee families at the centre of the dispossession campaign by Israeli settler organisations in the occupied East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah.
"The families I met in Sheikh Jarrah in East Jerusalem today live in the constant fear of being forcibly displaced and losing their homes," Lazzarini said.
"They are also traumatised by the increased violence by settlers in the presence of the Israeli Security Forces," he added.
"To prevent further escalations of tensions in West Bank, including in East Jerusalem, forced displacement and administrative demolitions, contrary to international law, should end."
Twenty-eight families who were displaced from their homes in 1948 to make way for the formation of the state of Israel, and established homes in the neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah in 1954 following an agreement with the UN and Jordan, now risk forced displacement once again at the hands of the occupation state.
The families are subjected to daily harassment campaigns by illegal Israeli settlers who are protected by occupation forces and police.
Entry to the Sheikh Jarrah has been blockaded by concrete barriers placed by the occupation with the aim of restricting movement and prohibiting entry to anyone not registered as being a resident of the neighbourhood.