A Palestinian family has been evicted from their east Jerusalem home of 52 years, after Israel’s high court ruled in favour of Jewish settlers already occupying part of the building, said police officers. (photo, from aljazeera.net)
On July 16, the al-Kurd family finally lost their protracted legal battle, when judges backed the settlers’ claim to the land. The judges ruled that the family be removed from the property.
On Sunday, the family were evicted, despite the fact that they are still in the midst of appealing against the high court judgment.
Fawzia al-Kurd told news agency AFP : “They arrived at three thirty at the morning. They broke into the house by smashing the door and forcefully threw us out, inhumanely.”
In protest of the court ruling, foreign pro-Palestinian activists have been camping outside the house in recent weeks. According to police sources seven were detained for questioning on Sunday.
International leaders, including Condoleezza Rice, the US secretary of state, have spoken out against plans to expel the family.
The al-Kurd’s fight to remain in their home has become symbolic of Palestinian resistance to the expansion of illegal Israeli settlements in occupied east Jerusalem overall.
In 1956, the UNRWA – the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees – gave the house back to the family, after they, as did many other, fled Israel to east Jerusalem following the creation of the Israeli state in 1948.
The UNRWA also allocated housing in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood to another 27 Palestinian families who evacuated to east Jerusalem in the 1940s. At that time it was under Jordanian control.
But east Jerusalem was captured and annexed by Israeli forces during the 1967 Six Day war, and Israeli settlers registered their claim to the land.
According to the al-Kurd’s, the 19th-century Ottoman document upon which the title deeds are based is a fake.
Municipal elections are to be held just two days after the move. Meir Porush and Nir Barkat, two leading candidates for mayor in Jerusalem, have both spoke out in favour of Jewish settlements in the east of the city.
Hatem Abdelkader, a spokesman for Salam Fayyad, the Palestinian prime minister, reacted angrily to the eviction.
“They want to expel Palestinian residents from Sheikh Jarrah. It is an escalation before the municipal elections”, he said.
The day the eviction took place, the international quartert for the Middle East – the US, Russia, the European Union and the United Nations – met in the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.
The Israelis have been urged by leaders to stop the construction of Jewish settlements on occupied Palestinian land.