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Israeli court orders eviction of 700 Palestinians from East Jerusalem neighborhood

This file picture shows a view of the Arab neighborhood of Silwan in the Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem al-Quds. (Photo by the English-language Times of Israel newspaper)

Israel’s so-called High Court of Justice has approved the evacuation of 700 Palestinian residents of a predominantly Arab neighborhood on the outskirts of the occupied Old City of Jerusalem al-Quds from their homes in a blatant ethnic cleansing procedure.

The court rejected the appeal filed by 104 Palestinians from the Batn al-Hawa neighborhood in Silwan against claims by right-wing Israeli organization Ateret Cohanim, which is working permanently to Judaize the Old City of Jerusalem and adjacent neighborhoods.

The court, however, acknowledged that the expropriation methods used by the settlement association were suspicious and raised questions about the validity of the procedures for the transfer of land and ownership.

The high court was ruling on claims that the land in question was populated by Jews who came from Yemen before the creation of Israel in 1948. The neighborhood was purportedly registered as belonging to a Jewish trust during the Ottoman Empire.

General view of the occupied West Bank city of Bethlehem taken from the Israeli settlement of Har Homa in East Jerusalem al-Quds on October 29, 2018. (Photo by AFP) 

Israeli human rights group B'Tselem has criticized the court ruling for failing to address the context.

“As though the land were not ‘freed’ by an association whose goal is to drive Palestinians out of their homes; as though the body of law does not allow Jews alone to file ownership for land abandoned in 1948; as though the court were not sanctioning the broadest move to dispossess Palestinians since 1967,” B'Tselem said in a statement.

The statement added, “The judgment proves, yet again, that the Israeli high court gives its seal of approval to almost any infringement of Palestinians’ rights by the Israeli authorities.”

Less than a month before US President Donald Trump took office, the United Nations Security Council adopted Resolution 2334, calling on Israel to “immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territories, including East Jerusalem” al-Quds.

About 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 illegal settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East Jerusalem al-Quds.

This picture taken on November 16, 2018 shows tear gas fumes rising during clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinian protesters following a demonstration against Israeli land seizures for Jewish settlements, in the village of Ras Karkar, about 11 kilometers northwest of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank. (Photo by AFP)

Palestinians want the West Bank as part of a future independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem al-Quds as its capital.

The last round of Israeli-Palestinian talks collapsed in 2014. Among the major sticking points in those negotiations was Israel’s continued settlement expansion on Palestinian territories.

Trump backtracked on Washington’s support for a “two-state solution” earlier this year, saying he would support any solution favored by both sides.

“Looking at two-state or one-state, I like the one that both parties like. I’m very happy with the one both parties like. I can live with either one,” the US president said during a joint press conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Washington on February 15.

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