Israeli forces have evicted a Palestinian family from their home in East Jerusalem near the Old City after a court battle that stretched for more than two decades.
An Israeli court ruled on Wednesday in favor of the Israeli Elad foundation, which seeks to increase settler presence in the mainly Palestinian parts of East Jerusalem and which claimed it had long purchased the property, said Israeli NGO Peace Now.
The NGO, which is an anti-settlement group that monitors settlement activity in the occupied West Bank, said in a report that the apartment was located in the Silwan neighborhood and was home to a 53-year-old woman and her four children from the Siyam family.
After the court ruling, Israeli police arrived in the neighborhood and evicted the family from their apartment, the report said, adding that the family would temporarily stay with their relatives.
“To take us from the house is like taking my heart from my body,” said Ali Siyam, 20, one of the Palestinian children evicted along with his family.
The family had filed a legal appeal in an attempt to fight the eviction, but it was rejected, and they were also ordered to pay 10,000 shekels (2,820 dollars) in legal costs to Elad.
“The settlement in Silwan not only harms the prospects for a conflict-ending agreement and stability in Jerusalem, it is also cruel and evil,” said Peace Now.
It also said that the Israeli settlers were “using their power and money to exhaust and impoverish the Palestinian families in legal proceedings so that they will have to agree to sell them homes.”
The Elad foundation, known in English as the City of David foundation, also monitors a nearby archaeological site in Silwan that seeks to demonstrate Jews’ purported historical link to Jerusalem.
Palestinians believe the Israeli regime and groups such as Elad are on a systematic campaign to force them out of Jerusalem.
Israel has been occupying the West Bank, including East Jerusalem since 1967. Ever since, it has been building settlements throughout the land, in a move condemned by the UN and considered illegal under international law.
The Palestinians, however, view eastern part of the city as the capital of their future sovereign state.
About 600,000 Israelis live in over 230 illegal settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem .