150 Jerusalemite families fear imminent threat of displacement ahead of Ramadan

Middle East Monitor  /  March 3, 2023

The specter of imminent mass demolition and displacement haunts more than 150 Jerusalemite families living in the Old City of occupied East Jerusalem and its surrounding neighbourhoods, a few weeks before the holy month of Ramadan.

This March, Israeli courts are scheduled to hold potentially decisive hearings on eviction and displacement cases, exposing more than 80 Jerusalemites at one time to the risk of forced displacement.

Jewish settler associations file eviction claims against Palestinian families in Jerusalem on the basis of racist Israeli laws that are discriminatory in nature, in order to seize the Jerusalemites’ homes and properties and forcibly expel their residents, depriving them of the possibility of remaining in their ancestral homes, rights groups have said.

The Israeli Ir Amim activist organization, which specializes in Jerusalem affairs, warned that the Israeli far-right government might carry out the largest eviction and uprooting operation against dozens of Palestinian families who would lose their homes in the Old City, the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood and the town of Silwan.

“There are more than 150 families, numbering about 1,000 people, in the Old City and surrounding neighbourhoods who are at risk of immediate eviction,” Ir Amim said.

The organization warned that if the displacements are carried out, not only will this constitute a serious violation of human rights and international law, but it will also have a “serious humanitarian impact on the families, and further erode conditions for an agreed political future.”

The Salem family is at risk of eviction from their home in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood, in favour of illegal settlers. The family has lived in the neighbourhood for 73 years and owns a house with a piece of land next to it which is constantly attacked by settlers.

Ibrahim Salem said a crucial court session will be held on 9 March to issue a final decision regarding the evacuation of his house. The family, he said, lives in constant fear of the possibility that an eviction order may be implemented at any time. Fifteen people live in the house, he added, the majority are children.

“We will face any Israeli decision with steadfastness and defiance, and we will not give up our home at any cost,” Ibrahim added.

“We will not leave our homes and lands in Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood, and we will defend them with all force, because this is our land, and neither the occupation nor the settlers own any single speck of soil in it,” he added.

“Israel targets everything in the city, in order to forcibly displace us, in favour of settlement expansion,” he said.

The Dajani, Daoudi and Hammad families in Karm al-Jaouni in Sheikh Jarrah also face possible eviction with their hearings scheduled for 29 March.