Israeli security forces closed Sheikh Jarrah in the centre of occupied East Jerusalem on Wednesday in order to secure a rally organised by Israeli settlers in the neighbourhood, Anadolu has reported.
According to a Facebook post by the Wadi Hilweh Information Centre, the Israeli forces closed the neighbourhood with steel barriers and deployed more armed personnel at the checkpoints. Eyewitnesses said that Israeli police arrested a Palestinian youth while implementing the closure by force.
Israeli courts have in recent years ruled to allow the eviction of Palestinian families from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah so that settler groups can move in and replace them. Last May, a decision to evict families from their homes in the neighbourhood sparked confrontations that spread to the occupied West Bank, the Gaza Strip and Palestinian communities within Israel.
Since 1956, such families have lived in their homes under an agreement between the Jordanian government and the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA). However, Israeli settlement groups claim that the homes in question were built on land owned by Jews before 1948. This is disputed by the Palestinians.
East Jerusalem remains occupied Palestinian under international law. All settlers and their settlements are illegal.