Twenty-two Palestinians were wounded in overnight clashes with Israeli police in annexed east Jerusalem, the Red Crescent said on Thursday, as tensions flare over a controversial land rights case.
According to Human Rights Watch, the homes of four Palestinian families are on land claimed by Jews. They are set to be evicted from their homes on Sunday.
According to the Palestinian WAFA news agency, the four houses with about 50 residents are facing eviction on Sunday and another four with about 70 residents are facing eviction in August.
The clashes happened in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood near Jerusalem’s walled Old City, where land disputes between Palestinians and Jewish settlers have fuelled hostility for years.
A Jerusalem district court ruled the homes legally belonged to the Jewish families, citing purchases decades ago.
The Jewish plaintiffs claimed their families lost the land during the war that accompanied Israel’s creation in 1948, a conflict that also saw hundreds of thousands of Palestinians displaced from their homes.
The Palestinian families implicated in the case have provided evidence that their homes were acquired from Jordanian authorities who controlled East Jerusalem from 1948 to 1967.
Amman has intervened in the case, providing documents to support the Palestinian claims.
Israel seized east Jerusalem in 1967 and later annexed it, in a move not recognized by most of the international community.
The district court ruling infuriated Palestinians in Sheikh Jarrah who viewed it as a further step in what they see as a Jewish settler effort to drive Arabs out of east Jerusalem.
Weeks of clashes that have seen police use skunk water cannon and deploy anti-riot police on horseback have resulted in several arrests.