The spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Rupert Colville, said on Friday that Sheikh Jarrah’s evictions if ordered and implemented, would violate Israel’s obligations under international law.
In a press release published by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Colville emphasised that East Jerusalem remains part of the occupied Palestinian territory, in which International Humanitarian Law applies, given the “disturbing” scenes in Sheikh Jarrah.
According to a survey conducted by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA) in 2020, at least 218 Palestinian households in occupied East Jerusalem, including the families of Silwan and Sheikh Jarrah, have eviction cases filed against them, the majority initiated by settler organisations, placing 970 people, including 424 children, at risk of displacement.
The occupying power must respect and cannot confiscate private property in occupied territory, and must respect, unless absolutely prevented, the laws in force in the country. This means that Israel cannot impose its own set of laws in occupied territory, including East Jerusalem, to evict Palestinians from their homes
Colville stressed that the transfer of parts of an occupying power’s civilian population into the territory that it occupies is prohibited under international humanitarian law and may amount to a war crime.
The High Commissioner’s spokesperson called on Israel to immediately halt all forced evictions, including those in Sheikh Jarrah and to respect freedom of expression and assembly, including those who are protesting against the evictions.