The families in Sheikh Jarrah, West Bank, have been faced with a war zone-like situation for more than a decade. Now the Israeli government is attempting to push a forcible evacuation through that hasn’t even been tried in the West Bank, yet its implications are far-reaching.
Over the past ten years, Israel has besieged the Palestinian area, which is home to an estimated 70,000 Palestinians, demolishing homes of those that refused to leave the area or moved in with their families, and destroying personal belongings of the residents. But when families refused to leave, Israel called in the army to act and repeatedly threatened them, and then forcibly evicted them.
In 2008, the Israeli High Court of Justice agreed that the policy is illegal, and that settlement policies can’t directly affect existing citizens and that the families be compensated by Israel, but since then neither the relatives nor the businesses have received compensation. For those who refused to budge, Israel has threatened to use the bulldozers to forcibly evict them from their homes.
Now, it seems that the Israeli government has proposed a “Plan B” — forcing an unspecified number of families into relocating to an adjacent piece of land they will compensate for, and currently owned by Israel. The Palestinians fear this plan is simply a ruse to demolish more homes in the area, and they fear the settlers will make it impossible for them to go back. The Palestinians also say that the Israeli government is attempting to continue demolishing buildings without compensation — six out of the ten that have been demolished in recent months have not been compensated.
One Palestinian resident, Nour al-Agha, told Al-Jazeera: “If the state thinks this plan will serve as a model in other places, they should think again. This will amount to a very costly investment, and no civilized government would follow such a vicious and destructive plan.”
More than 20 Palestinian families from Sheikh Jarrah met in Ramallah on Saturday to voice their objection to the plan, according to media reports. A second meeting was held in London on Friday, and a petition to cancel the plan has been gathering signatures at the same time.
Read the full story at Al-Jazeera.
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