Days of Palestine

Wednesday, May 31

Israeli Occupation Forces Continue Suppression of Palestinians in Sheikh Jarrah



Israeli occupation forces arrested 31 Palestinians in Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in occupied Jerusalem, according to Palestinian sources.

Palestinians were protesting against the encroachment of land belonging to a Palestinian family inside occupied Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood.

The Palestinians were opposing the setting of a “camp” office by an ultra right-wing Jewish member of the Israeli parliament from the Religious Zionism party, Itamar Ben Gvir.

Hundreds of local Palestinians gathered and tried to remove the tents erected by Gvir’s supporters when Israeli security forces fired at them with rubber coated bullets, tear gas and sound bombs.

According to the Palestinian Red Crescent, at least 31 Palestinians were injured, with six of them hospitalized. The Israeli forces also arrested at least 13 Palestinians.

Local NGOs and rights groups have long pointed to a range of Israeli practices and policies in Jerusalem aimed at altering the demographic ratio in favour of Jews, a goal laid out as “maintaining a solid Jewish majority in the city” in the municipality’s 2000 masterplan.

Unlawful settlement expansion, Palestinian home demolitions, and restrictions on urban development are some of the main ways being used to realize this goal, according to rights groups.

Israel militarily occupied the eastern half of the city in 1967. Only 13 percent is zoned for Palestinian development and residential construction, most of which is already built up.

Some 57 percent of all land in occupied East Jerusalem has been expropriated by the Israeli occupation, including from private Palestinian owners, for both the building of illegal settlements and zoning of land as “green areas and public infrastructure”. The remaining 30 percent comprises “unplanned areas” where construction is also banned.

At least 280 Palestinian households in Jerusalem consisting of 970 people, including 424 children, are at risk of forced displacement by Israeli authorities, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA).

Grassroots al-Quds, a Jerusalem-based Palestinian NGO, said Israel’s actions come as part of “a large-scale plan to empty al-Sheikh Jarrah of its Palestinian residents,” including plans to build new illegal Jewish settlements.

In May, popular Palestinian protests erupted when Israeli authorities attempted to forcibly displace six Palestinian families from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah for settlers to move in.