פלסטינים מתבצרים על גג בשייח ג'ראח
Palestinians carrying gas canisters in flashpoint neighborhood
Photo: AFP
Palestinians carrying gas canisters in flashpoint neighborhood

Israel police in standoff with Palestinians over Sheikh Jarrah eviction

Mohammed Salhiya barricades himself on roof of his home in East Jerusalem, threatening to set himself on fire if municipality doesn't sign papers, promising not to evict him, which is stipulated by an eviction order from 2017

AFP, Ynet |
Published: 01.17.22, 13:35
Israeli police were in a standoff Monday with a Palestinian man who carried a gas canister onto the roof of his home in a Jerusalem flashpoint neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah as his family faced eviction.
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  • Media reports said that Mohammed Salhiya had threatened to set himself on fire if the eviction order from the East Jerusalem neighborhood was carried out. Salhiya's family has been facing an eviction threat since 2017, when the land where his home sits was allocated for school construction.
    3 View gallery
    פלסטינים מתבצרים על גג בשייח ג'ראח
    פלסטינים מתבצרים על גג בשייח ג'ראח
    Palestinians carrying gas canisters in flashpoint neighborhood
    (Photo: AFP)
    Public Security Ministry, however, said Salhiya's home is not intended for eviction this week, only the nursery located next to it.
    Police and the Jerusalem municipality said in a joint statement delegates went to the home early Monday after the Salhiyas ignored "countless opportunities" to vacate the land as ordered.
    "Whoever leaves his house is a traitor," said Salhiya. "We will not be evicted from the house. Either we will die or we will live. I am going to burn myself."
    He apparently agreed to get down from the roof if he was presented with a document promising not to evict him from his home. Police said they did not intend to evict him by force, but the municipality made it clear that they do not intend to sign any document as long as the family members are fortified on the roof.
    3 View gallery
    פלסטינים מתבצרים על גג בשייח ג'ראח
    פלסטינים מתבצרים על גג בשייח ג'ראח
    Salhiya with a gas canister on the roof of the house
    (Photo: AFP)
    "We've been in this home since the 1950s," said Salhiya family member Abdallah Ikermawi from the roof of the home. "We don't have anywhere to go," he said in quotes provided by the Sheikh Jarrah Committee organization, adding that the family was made up of 15 people, including children.
    An 11-day Gaza war between Israel and the Palestinians erupted last year, fueled by anger in Sheikh Jarrah where families battled eviction orders.
    Police said their "negotiators" were at the Salhiya home after several residents of the house "began to fortify themselves with a gas canister and other flammable material". Witnesses said that clashes between security forces and locals erupted after the police arrived but later eased.
    Hundreds of Palestinians are facing evictions from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah and other East Jerusalem neighborhoods.
    'Plenty of space'
    In some cases, Jewish Israelis have mounted legal challenges to claim the land they say was illegally taken during the war that coincided with Israel's founding in 1948.
    3 View gallery
    פלסטינים מתבצרים על גג בשייח ג'ראח
    פלסטינים מתבצרים על גג בשייח ג'ראח
    Palestinians burn objects in East Jerusalem
    (Photo: AFP)
    Palestinians have rejected these claims, saying their homes were legally purchased from Jordanian authorities who controlled East Jerusalem between 1948 and 1967.
    Seven Palestinian families in Sheikh Jarrah have taken their legal challenges against their eviction threats to Israel's Supreme Court. The Salhiyas are not in that group.
    Jerusalem City councilor Laura Wharton, who was at the scene and due to meet the Salhiya family later Monday, criticized the municipality's actions. "They could have built the schools in the same plot without moving the families. There is plenty of space," she said.
    "The sad thing is this is the municipality itself doing this, it's not some right wing settlers."

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