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Palestinian Family Evicted From Their Home During Demolition in East Jerusalem

Photo: Times of Israel

Occupying forces have evicted a family from their home in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah in an Israeli police operation.

After receiving consent from the district court, Jerusalem municipality officials proceeded to the area for demolition in a future attempt to construct schools for children with special needs. 

The Israeli police and municipality employees started the operation on Monday with a bulldozer and other heavy machinery, closely reinforced by special forces.

Together with their allies, the family positioned themselves on the roof of their house to show resistance when a building composed of metal and glass accommodating a nursery for plants was knocked down at the same instant.

At some point, family head Mahmoud Salhiyeh attempted to intimidate the forces during the face-off with demolishers by threatening that he would ignite a gas canister and set afire the house where he lived together alongside five children and his wife. 

The demolition seems to have paused Monday night before starting again in the early morning of Wednesday with family elimination and knocking down the last few buildings standing on the lot.

An eyewitness said, “They arrived around three o’clock in the morning, cut the electricity and surrounded the house, raiding it and detaining all members who were in the house.” 

“A number of people were arrested for questioning on suspicion of violating a court order, violent fortification and disturbing public order,” said the Jerusalem municipality in a statement. 

“Since the evacuation order was issued in 2017, members of the family living in the illegal buildings were given countless opportunities to hand over the land with consent, but unfortunately they refused to do so, even after meetings and repeated dialog attempts by the Jerusalem municipality,” the statement added. 

Among the many communities in East Jerusalem where residential buildings and businesses encounter demolition operations, Sheikh Jarrah is among those targeted for destruction.

The buildings in question have been erected illegally or face expropriation notices, say authorities. In some cases, land ownership has been confronted by Jewish organizations with years of court cases.

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