UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon “has expressed his dismay at the continuation of demolitions, evictions and the installment of Israeli settlers in Palestinian neighborhoods in occupied East Jerusalem,” a statement said Dec. 2. Speaking from outside the Sheikh Jarrah home of the al-Kurd family, which was occupied by Israeli settlers earlier in the day, Richard Miron, spokesperson for the UN special coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, reiterated the concerns of the secretary general at the continued Israeli violations in Jerusalem.
“Provocative actions such as these create inevitable tensions, undermine trust, often have tragic human consequences and make resuming negotiations and achieving a two state solution more difficult. We reiterate the Secretary General’s call for these actions to cease immediately,” he said. (Ma’an News Agency, Dec. 2)
Jewish nationalists and Palestinians clashed in an East Jerusalem neighborhood Dec. 1 after the Israelis took over a house in the mostly Arab area following a court order in their favor. The house is in Sheik Jarrah, a district just north of the Old City, where three Palestinian families have been evicted from other houses in the last year after losing a lengthy legal battle in Israel’s High Court.
A Jewish association won its claim to historical ownership of the land in question, and has plans to build a large Jewish housing complex there. The al-Kurd home was built in 1956. An addition to the house was built 10 years ago, but the family was not allowed to inhabit the section, based on an earlier agreement with the settlers—apparently reached by the family’s former lawyer without their knowledge. The courts also found the addition had been constructed without the proper permits. An elderly woman, Refka al-Kurd, reortedly suffered a stroke following the incident.So far, 60 people have been left homeless in the demolitions. In total, 28 families living in the Karm Al-Ja’ouni neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah face imminent eviction from their homes. (NYT, Dec. 2; ISM, Dec. 1)
European Union envoys meanwhile condemned the Israeli government’s discriminatory policies in East Jerusalem and recommend implementing measures to strengthen the Palestinian Authority’s presence in the city in a classified report leaked in Israeli media. The EU report, which is updated annually by EU representatives in Jerusalem and Ramallah, was presented to Brussels recently, according to the Israeli daily Haaretz, which stated that the report is never published due to Israeli pressure.
The report charged both the Israeli government and the Jerusalem municipal government of undertaking premeditated measures to alter the city’s demography in favor of Jewish residents and “sever East Jerusalem from the West Bank” by backing right-wing organizations in buying homes in Palestinian neighborhoods which “attempts to implant further Jewish settlements into the heart of the Muslim Quarter.” (Ma’an News Agency, Dec. 2)