Israel and Hamas activists in the Gaza Strip exchanged airstrikes and rocket fire, with both sides vowing to continue as the funeral takes place and despite international calls for them to withdraw from the pursuit conflict.
The unrest also appears to be spreading, with the city of Lod, near Tel Aviv, being placed under a state of emergency after riots by Arab Israelis.
The clashes began on Friday when more than 200 Palestinians and 17 Israeli officers were injured in Jerusalem, violence erupted after thousands of worshipers gathered at al-Aqsa Mosque for their weekly Friday prayers and were greeted by a strong police presence.
Rubber bullets and grenades were fired and arrests were made.
The show of force was in response to nightly protests erupting at the start of the holy month of Ramadan over police restrictions at a popular gathering place, the historic Damascus Gate to the Old City, and the threat of forced eviction of dozens of Palestinians. from their homes in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem, which is claimed by both sides in the decades-long war.
Sheikh Jarrah – The Story
Sheikh Jarrah district is home to the descendants of refugees who were expelled or displaced during the 1948 war in what Palestinians called the “Nakba” (disaster). The Nakba has seen hundreds of thousands of Palestinians forced or flee into exile.
In 1956, 28 refugee families received housing under an agreement between the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) and the Jordanian government to help provide shelter to families in the part of a resettlement agreement.
In a statement quoted by Anadolu Agency, the Civil Coalition for Palestinian Rights in Jerusalem (CCPRJ) said: “A contract was made between the Ministry of Construction and Reconstruction and a Palestinian family in 1956, the one of the main conditions stipulating that residents pay token fees, provided that ownership is transferred to residents three years after completion of the work. This meant that families were to be given legal title and ownership of the land, but it never happened and led to legal battles and tensions between the two groups.
Following the Israeli occupation of the West Bank in 1967, settlers claimed ownership of the land, despite international law declaring that they have no legal authority over the population it occupies. However, settler groups have filed several successful lawsuits to forcibly evict Palestinians from Sheikh Jarrah since 1972, which resulted in Jordan losing control of Sheikh Jarrah’s territory.
Six years later, the Hanoun and Ghawi families were forced to leave their homes and in 2017 the Shamasneh family were also evicted from their home by Israeli settlers.
Israeli law declares and supports Jews who lost property in East Jerusalem in 1948, but it does not allow Palestinians to recover their lost property.
Recent tensions erupt
The Jerusalem District Court recently said six other Palestinian families of Sheikh Jarrah had to leave their homes after living there for many generations.
Israel’s Supreme Court was due to hold another hearing on the matter on Monday. However, he chose to postpone his hearing at the request of the state attorney general and will now set a new date to hear the residents’ appeal within the next 30 days.
The United States said it was “deeply concerned” about both the violence and threats of evictions and was in contact with leaders on both sides in an attempt to defuse tensions.
“It is essential to avoid measures that exacerbate tensions or take us away from peace,” the State Department said in a statement.
The EU also called for calm. He said the potential expulsions were “of great concern”, adding that such actions were “illegal under international humanitarian law and only served to fuel tensions on the ground”.
Neighboring Jordan, which made peace with Israel in 1994 and is the guardian of Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem, has also condemned Israel’s actions, as has Bahrain, which normalized relations with Israel last year in a agreement negotiated by the United States.
“We will not recognize this property as belonging to the settlers. We have lived in these houses for over 60 years and we will not leave our homes until we are transported to our graves, ”said Saleh Diab, a resident of Sheikh Jarrah. AJ Plus.
Political leaders, activists and social influencers have expressed their concern and dismay at the current situation in Jerusalem, with the hashtag “#SaveSheikhJarrah” trending on social media.
The UN, for its part, has declared that Israel’s forced evictions of Palestinians “are a potential war crime.”