The Palestinian Authority has condemned the forced eviction by Israel of Palestinian residents in occupied East Jerusalem as a “war crime”. The comment was made by the PA Ministry of Jerusalem Affairs after the Israeli occupation authorities ordered a Palestinian family to leave their home in favour of illegal settlers in a case dating back to 1978.
Israeli settlers claim that Jews lived in the house before Israel’s creation in 1948, and Jordan later took over the administration of East Jerusalem. They base their claim to ownership of the property on an Israeli law dating back to the 1970s that allows Jews to recover property that allegedly belonged to Jews prior to 1948. According to this law, even those who are not related to the original owners of the property can claim it back.
“The forced eviction of the [Palestinian] family… amounts to a war crime,” said the PA ministry. “This is part of attempts by the occupation and settler groups to seize as many Palestinian houses as possible in Jerusalem’s Old City and Silwan town near Al-Aqsa Mosque.” It is also, added officials, part of the apartheid system imposed by Israel on Palestinians.
The ministry called on the international community to act urgently “to stop all forced evictions, home demolitions, settler colonial activity, attempts to divide Al-Aqsa Mosque, and attacks on [other religious] sanctities.”
Dozens of Palestinian families in East Jerusalem face expulsion from their homes in favour of Israeli settlers, even though all Israeli settlers and the settlements in which they live are illegal under international law. Israel occupied East Jerusalem during the 1967 Six Day War, and annexed the entire city in 1980 in a move never recognised by the international community.