Forced displacement threatens Palestinian presence in Sheikh Jarrah

Forced displacement

An official report released on Thursday warned that the Israeli schemes to be implemented in Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in Occupied Jerusalem threaten the Palestinian presence there.

The report issued by the PLO Negotiations Affairs Department and entitled “Forced displacement of the residents of Sheikh Jarrah” explained that Israeli authorities force Palestinian families in the neighborhood to evacuate their homes.

Located to the north of the Old City of Jerusalem, Sheikh Jarrah is home to about 3,000 Palestinian citizens and some important organizations including Beit al-Sharq, the PLO headquarters which was closed by Israeli authorities in 2003, the Palestinian National Theater, and a number of headquarters of diplomatic missions.

Night evacuations
According to the report, Israeli authorities often force Palestinian families to evacuate their homes late at night to intimidate and terrorize the inhabitants.

The International Criminal Court considers forced displacement a war crime and a crime against humanity especially when it is carried out in a widespread and systematic manner against civilians.

Al-Khalil scenario
The report noted that the Israeli seizure of Palestinian property and settlers’ harassment of Palestinians on a daily basis contribute to the creation of a scenario similar to that in al-Khalil where a small number of settlers control the movement of the bigger majority of the Palestinian population.

It explained that the Israeli policies pursued in Occupied Jerusalem have emerged since 1967 based on two central strategies: the first is to establish a Jewish majority in the city by building Jewish-only settlements, while the second seeks to achieve the same goal by limiting the Palestinian population growth through policies aimed at expelling Palestinians from Jerusalem or obstructing the development of the Palestinian society.

These strategies, the report underlined, include a spatial separation policy which goal is to isolate neighborhoods from one another and thus weaken the Palestinian presence in the city.

Settlement outposts
As part of the first strategy, Israeli authorities, in cooperation with settlement associations, work to establish settlement outposts in strategic areas in the Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem, particularly Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in an attempt to create geographical communication between West Jerusalem and the Hebrew University in East Jerusalem.

The report stressed that these settlement outposts, which are inhabited by extremist Jewish groups, are illegal under international law.

(Source / 19.08.2017)

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