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US Congresswoman urges end to Israel’s Palestinian homes demolition policy

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Israeli forces stand by the ruins of a Palestinian house they demolished in the occupied East al-Quds neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, on January 19, 2022. (File photo by AFP)

A US Congresswoman has condemned the Israeli practice of demolition of Palestinian-owned homes in the occupied East al-Quds neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, calling on Israeli authorities to quit the policy.

Democratic Representative Marie Newman made the appeal in a post on her Twitter account on Saturday, after Israeli forces tore down the property of a Palestinian man in Sheikh Jarrah earlier this week, displacing his entire family of over a dozen, mainly children, the Palestinian Information Center reported.

Newman further noted that members of the Palestinian family became homeless after Israeli police forced them out of their home in the middle of the night, while pointing that Israeli forces have carried out more than 1,000 demolitions since 2016 in the same area.

On January 19, an Israeli mechanical digger, under the tight protection of Israeli soldiers, tore down the property of Mahmoud Salhiyeh in Sheikh Jarrah. The Israeli police cordoned off the area where the house was located during and after the demolition. Local sources said a large number of police forces stormed the house and arrested 20 activists and six individuals from the 18-member Salhiyeh family, including Mahmoud.

They assaulted the other members of the family, including his nine-year-old daughter and her aunt. The family said that the Israeli forces had cut off electricity from the house as they raided it, and started firing tear gas to block everyone’s vision.

The Israeli regime presses ahead with its settlement expansion and land-grab policy across the Palestinian territories despite international outcry. Many believe such a policy is aimed at forcing the Palestinians to leave their homeland by making it difficult for them to live there.

Sheikh Jarrah has been the scene of frequent crackdowns by Israeli police on Palestinians protesting the displacement of dozens of Palestinian families from their homes.

Since Israel seized East al-Quds in the 1967 war, Israeli settler organizations have claimed ownership of land in Sheikh Jarrah and have filed multiple lawsuits to force Palestinians from the area.

Most of the international community considers Israeli settlement construction illegal under international law and an obstacle to the so-called two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Nearly 700,000 Israelis live in settlements built since the 1967 occupation of the Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East al-Quds. The UN Security Council has in several resolutions condemned the Tel Aviv regime’s settlement projects in the occupied Palestinian lands. Palestinians want the West Bank as part of a future independent state with East al-Quds as its capital.

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