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Israeli forces attack al-Quds sit-in held to protest forcible eviction of Palestinian families

An Israeli border police officer hits a Palestinian man during a confrontation in the Silwan neighborhood of East Jerusalem al-Quds. [via AP]

Israeli police forces have attacked a sit-in held by Palestinians in the occupied East Jerusalem al-Quds aimed at showing solidarity with two families threatened with appropriation of their homes.

They detained at least three protesters after severely beating them up in front of the Israeli regime’s central court in the occupied East Jerusalem al-Quds, Palestine’s official Wafa news agency reported.

The sit-in was held in solidarity with Salem Ghaith and Jawad Abu Nab who are among hundreds of other Palestinian families threatened with appropriation of their homes in al-Quds’s districts of Silwan and Sheikh Jarrah for the benefit of Israeli settlers.

The court was looking into the case of the two Palestinian families during a hearing on Thursday morning.

“Despite the fact that East al-Quds is occupied and illegally annexed and the majority of the population in East al-Quds are Palestinians and that Israeli settlers reside illegally in occupied East al-Quds, Israeli zoning laws have allocated 35 percent of the land area for the construction of illegal settlement by Israeli settlers, and 52 percent of East al-Quds has been allocated as ‘green areas’ and ‘unplanned areas’ in which construction is prohibited,” said al-Haq, a Ramallah-based defending human rights organization.

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 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.

The Tel Aviv regime also plans to force out Palestinian families from Sheikh Jarrah in an attempt to replace them with settlers under Israeli court rulings.

Israel launched an 11-day bombing campaign against the besieged Gaza Strip on May 10, after Palestinians retaliated against violent raids on worshipers at the al-Aqsa Mosque and the regime’s plans to force a number of Palestinian families out of their homes at Sheikh Jarrah.

According to Gaza’s Health Ministry, at least 260 Palestinians were killed in the Israeli offensive, including 66 children and 39 women, and 1948 others were wounded.

'Dangerous escalation' 

On Thursday, Nabil Abu Rudeineh, the spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas who leads the Palestinian Authority, strongly denounced the dangerous Israeli escalation.

Rudeineh condemned the killing of two Palestinian Authority intelligence officers and another Palestinian, a former prisoner, who were shot dead by Israeli undercover special forces in the occupied West Bank city of Jenin earlier in the day, Wafa said in a report.

The Palestinian official further warned the Israeli regime that its practices and violations of Palestinian rights, its attacks and daily killings, and its violations of international law would create tensions leading to a dangerous escalation. 

Rudeineh also held Tel Aviv responsible for the escalation and its repercussions, urging the international community to provide protection for the Palestinian people.

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

All Israeli settlements are illegal under international law. 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 state with East Jerusalem al-Quds as its capital.

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