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Palestine FM urges ICC action against Israel land grab, demolition policies in Sheikh Jarrah

Palestinian, Israeli, and foreign activists lift banners and placards during a demonstration against Israeli occupation and settlement activity in the Palestinian territories and east Jerusalem al-Quds, in Jerusalem al-Quds’ Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood, on March 19, 2021. (Via Getty Images)

Palestinian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates Riyad al-Maliki has called on the International Criminal Court (ICC) to take a firm stance against Israel’s land grab and home demolition policies in East Jerusalem al-Quds, as hundreds of Palestinians are facing an imminent threat of eviction from their homes in the occupied territories.

In a letter sent to ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda on Monday, Maliki urged the international tribunal to voice its strong opposition to Israeli actions and crimes against the residents of Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, where Palestinian homes and structures are being demolished for the construction of a new settlement outpost in the area, Palestine's official Wafa news agency reported

He further denounced the latest decision by an Israeli court in the case of Sheikh Jarrah as “unacceptable” and “inadmissible,” saying it completely contradicts international law and is particularly in favor of Israeli settlers. 

A day earlier, an Israeli court ruled that at least six Palestinian families must vacate their homes in the area by Thursday, despite having lived there for generations.

The same court also ruled that seven other Palestinian families face eviction from their homes by August 1. That is a total of 58 people, including 17 children.

Maliki went on to say that the decision constitutes a flagrant and serious violation that equates between the executioner and the victim, adding that it reveals the extent of the court's involvement in legitimizing and covering the violations and crimes of the Israeli regime and settlers.

The latest development comes as Palestinian Minister of Jerusalem al-Quds Affairs Fadi al-Hadami has already called on the international community to promptly intervene and take immediate action in order to halt Israel’s expulsion of Palestinians from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah.

The West Bank-based Fatah party has also called on the United Nations and the UN Security Council to fulfill their legal responsibilities and act against Israel's imminent plan to displace hundreds of Palestinians from their homes, lands and properties in Sheikh Jarrah.

The Palestinian resistance movement of Hamas also held Israel responsible for harming the inhabitants of Sheikh Jarrah, saying the mass displacement of Palestinians in the area and the seizure of their homes is an obvious targeting of Palestinian identity in East Jerusalem al-Quds.

Fawzi Barhoum, a Hamas spokesman, argued that normalization deals between Israel and several Arab states have encouraged the Tel Aviv regime to expand its occupation of Palestinian territories and escalate construction of housing units, mainly in East Jerusalem al-Quds and surrounding neighborhoods.

Israeli authorities usually demolish Palestinian homes in the occupied territories, claiming that the structures have been built without permits, which are nearly impossible to obtain.

They also sometimes order Palestinian owners to demolish their own homes or pay the demolition costs to the municipality if they do not.

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

Emboldened by former US president Donald Trump’s all-out support, Israel stepped up its settlement construction activities in defiance of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334, which pronounced settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem al-Quds “a flagrant violation under international law.”

All Israeli settlements are illegal under international law as they are built on occupied land.

The UN Security Council has condemned Israel’s settlement activities in the occupied territories in several resolutions.

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

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