Amnesty International has sharply criticized the planned eviction of several dozen Palestinian families from their homes in the occupied East Jerusalem al-Quds neighborhood of Silwan as "another illustration of Israel’s criminal policy of forced displacement of Palestinians.”
Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa in the London-based organization, Saleh Higazi, said the Israeli regime is "fanning the flames of the latest upsurge in violence and perpetuating the same systematic human rights violations against Palestinians" by continuing to pursue the Jerusalem al-Quds District Court’s decision on a pending appeal against the ordered eviction.
He argued that the measure follows massive outcry over planned expulsions from Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in occupied East Jerusalem al-Quds, where protests against the decision led to Israeli violence against Palestinians and the 11-day war on the Gaza Strip.
“For years Israel has sought to expand illegal settlements in the area of Silwan, forcibly displacing more than 200 Palestinians from their homes. The recent protests locally and worldwide against forced evictions in Sheikh Jarrah send a clear message that Israel’s land grabs will not go unnoticed,” the senior Amnesty International official noted.
He added, “Israel’s authorities must immediately halt plans for forced evictions in Batn al-Hawa in Silwan and any other areas of the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Such forced evictions flagrantly violate the prohibition in international humanitarian law of forcible transfer and amount to war crimes.”
Higazi finally called upon the United States, Britain, EU countries and the international community to assume their responsibility to stop Israel from continuing with its policies of systematic oppression and dispossession of Palestinians.
Silwan, home to about 33,000 Palestinians, is located outside the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem al-Quds and its sacred sites.
Israeli officials have been moving Jewish extremists to the neighborhood since the 1980s, and currently several hundred settlers live there in heavily protected settlement compounds.
This has resulted in numerous human rights violations, including the forced eviction and displacement of Palestinian residents.
The Silwan properties are claimed by extremists backed by Ateret Cohanim, a right-wing foundation that works to strengthen the Jewish presence in East Jerusalem al-Quds.
More than 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 settlements built since the 1967 Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East Jerusalem al-Quds.
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.
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.