The Ethnic Cleansing Of Sheikh Jarrah Highlights Israel’s Racist Apartheid Laws

By  Robert Inlakesh

Israeli settler organisations seek to expel up to 26 Palestinian families from the East Jerusalem Neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah, highlighting the racist laws implemented by ‘Israel’ and the State’s Apartheid System.

At least four Palestinian families are awaiting the decision of an appeal made to the Israeli Supreme Court, on eviction orders presented to them by a Jerusalem court. If evicted, this will mean that dozens of Palestinians will be made homeless, to the benefit of Israeli settler extremists poised to steal their homes.

Six Palestinian families were originally destined to be evicted from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah on May 2, with a further 7 families having been ruled to leave their homes on August 1, however the May 2 case was extended in order to facilitate an agreement between a settler company and the current Palestinian residents.

Four Jerusalem households, facing eviction, were given until this Thursday to reach an agreement with a settler company named Nahalat Shimon, which will be granted the properties of those being expelled. The Palestinian families told the court that no such agreement, to facilitate the hand over of their homes to the settler company had been reached and an appeal has been filed to the Israeli ‘High Court of Justice’, which is set to make a ruling on the issue as early as next week.

The legal justification that ‘Israel’ gives for handing over Palestinian homes to illegal Israeli settlers, leaving the former residents homeless, is the 1950 Absentees’ Property Law which grants Israelis the right to claim land that Jews had allegedly owned prior to the 1948 conflict, a 1977 Israeli cabinet resolution is also often evoked.

The newly released Human Rights Watch (HRW) report ‘A Threshold Crossed’, which accuses ‘Israel’ of committing the crime of Apartheid, explains how the law was previously used:

“Israeli authorities applied the law to take hold of most of the land belonging to the hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees who came to reside outside of Israel, as well as land belonging to Palestinians internally displaced as a result of the events of 1947 and 1948. Israeli authorities placed the land under the control of the Custodian for Absentees’ Property and eventually converted it to state land, almost exclusively used to build new Jewish communities”

What was mentioned in the report from HRW, is crucial to understanding how the State itself has implemented the very law used to claim ownership of Palestinian property in the eastern part of Jerusalem. It is clear that, due to Palestinians not having been granted a Law permitting them to claim back property, the legal system is racially biased and that the State is clearly attempting to seize more land through ethnic cleansing.

Israeli top human rights organisation B’Tselem has declared ‘Israel’ as an Apartheid Regime, implementing policies of Jewish Supremacy over Palestinians, so under this regime there are often legal loopholes which favour Jewish settler extremist takeovers of Palestinian land.

In the case of Sheikh Jarrah, most of its residents were in fact refugees from other cities and towns that had been ethnically cleansed by Israeli terrorist militias between 1947-1948. These refugees were actually re-located in the neighbourhood whilst it was under Jordanian control between 1948-1967. Israeli propaganda often attempts to present the idea that the homes being seized were once owned by Jews, but this is a flat out lie, the Jordanian authorities were the ones to finance the construction of the homes. Palestinians have since lived in these homes and the legal argument largely presented against them by settler organisations is that their paperwork was not fully finished to prove their residency under Jordanian rule.

Even if we were to believe that the homes were once, over 73 years ago, owned by Jewish people, why are Jewish religious extremists settlers, who have no family lineage which can be connected to the ownership of that land, being granted the homes? Also, why are Palestinians not being compensated and offered real justifiable alternatives if this was to be the case? The fact is, Palestinians are viewed by the Israeli courts as lesser human beings and Jewish Israelis, many of which come from New York to steal homes, are viewed as superior beings by virtue of what they are born as.

When we take the situation away from Israel’s rules, which operates on the basis of whatever Israel’s master race decides to do to the inferior race goes, we will see that under International Law everything that is happening to Sheikh Jarrah’s residents has no legal basis. ‘Israel’ was never entitled to any of Jerusalem from the first 1947 partition resolution and when it attacked and expanded into West Jerusalem illegally, this was just eventually accepted by the International Community.

When ‘Israel’ was admitted into the UN as a member state in 1948, it was so on the basis that it would eventually head to what was stipulated under the non-binding resolution 181 (partition plan) and UN resolution 194 (the Palestinian right of return GA res.), yet never bothered abiding by either. UN general assembly resolution 181 had Jerusalem as an autonomous zone, but this was never addressed or enforced and Israel’s violation of this had been ignored. Come 1967, ‘Israel’ illegally annexed all of Jerusalem, ‘Israel’ later in 1980 forced a de jure annexation of East Jerusalem, thus applying Israeli law onto it.

The International Community does not recognise Israel’s claim to sovereignty over East Jerusalem and upholds that it is a violation of international law for a power to acquire territory through warfare. This is key to point out, as all of Israel’s legal justifications, for what it is doing to Sheikh Jarrah residents, are viewed by the International Community and all reputable international organisations, courts etc. as invalid.

UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Tor Wennesland, has said on the issue that “The latest developments related to the eviction of Palestine refugee families in Sheikh Jarrah…are very worrying. I urge Israel to cease demolitions and evictions, in line with its obligations under international humanitarian law,” rights groups throughout the world have also condemned Israel’s actions.

It is more than clear that the evictions of Palestinian residents of Sheikh Jarrah are the product of a racist court system, backed by a racist legal system, spearheaded by billionaire-backed racist settler colonisers. The Palestinian Authority has now handed the case of Sheikh Jarrah over to the International Criminal Court, for an investigation into the war crime that is being committed there, but the question still remains will the ICC be strong and rule against ‘Israel’? If so, this may help the residents of Sheikh Jarrah, at least in seeking justice if not anything else.

(Source / 07.05.2021)

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