Israel evicted dozens of Palestinians from their homes in Jerusalem on
Sunday. The move touches on one of the core issues of the Middle East
Israeli police moved into the Arab neighborhood of
Sheikh Jarrah in disputed East Jerusalem and forcibly removed more than
50 Palestinians from their homes. They were members of two families
who have lived in the area for more than 50 years.
U.N. officials say they saw Jewish settlers moving in afterwards to occupy the houses.
[are] planning to take house by house, and they claim that they own all
this neighborhood," said Maher Hannoun, one of the evicted Palestinians.
cited a ruling by Israel's Supreme Court that the houses belong to Jews
and that the Arab families had been living there illegally. The court
backed Jewish settlers who produced documents showing that the property
was legally purchased from its former Arab owner. But Hannoun called
"I'm sure that later, they can't take any
house from this neighborhood because our lawyer, he has all the
documents to prove that another Palestinian owns this land," he said.
captured East Jerusalem from Jordan during the Six Day War in 1967 and
claims the city as its capital. But the Palestinians want East
Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.
The U.S. State
Department condemned the evictions, saying "unilateral actions . . .
cannot prejudge the outcome of negotiations and will not be recognized
by the international community."
Israel has rejected repeated
U.S. demands for a freeze on settlement activity in East Jerusalem and
the West Bank, leading tensions with Washington. Israel's Prime
Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says the right of Jews to build and live
anywhere in Jerusalem is not negotiable.