Israeli forces tear down Palestinian home, displace 18 residents in Sheikh Jarrah

Jerusalem /PNN/

Israeli occupation forces have displaced a Palestinian family in the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah before tearing down their home, while assaulting them and several activists.

Israeli forces cleared everyone from the site before dawn on Wednesday, when a mechanical digger tore down the property of Mahmoud Salhiyeh.

The Israeli occupation police cordoned off the area where the house was located during and after the demolition.

Local sources said a large number of police forces stormed the house and arrested 20 activists and six individuals from the 18-member Salhiyeh family, including Mahmoud.

They assaulted the other members of the family, including his nine-year-old daughter and her aunt.

Yasmin Salhiyeh, a resident of the house and another daughter of Mahmoud, said that the Israeli forces had cut off electricity from the house as they raided it, and started firing tear gas to block everyone’s vision.

According to Quds News Network, Mahmoud was asleep when they stormed the house to arrest him, and they didn’t let him put a jacket or shoes on, despite the heavy rain and cold temperature.

Israeli forces also fired rubber-coated metal bullets at journalists and supporters who were outside the house.

Mohammed Salhiyeh, a relative, told Reuters that he had been unable to contact Mahmoud or anyone else who lived in the house.

“Their phones are all off, we can’t reach them,” he said. “They didn’t have a plan to go anywhere, they didn’t think it was an option.”

Sheikh Jarrah has been the scene of frequent crackdowns by Israeli police on Palestinians protesting the displacement of dozens of Palestinian families from their homes.

Since Israel seized East Jerusalem in the 1967 war, Israeli settler organizations have claimed ownership of land in Sheikh Jarrah and have filed multiple lawsuits to force Palestinians from the area.

On Monday morning, the Israeli forces raided the area and attempted to force the Salhiyehs out of their home.

However, Mahmoud refused to obey the order of the Israeli occupation municipality and threatened to set himself and the house on fire, in opposition to the forced displacement.

“We will not leave here, either we die or we live,” he shouted as he carried a gas canister onto the roof of his home, warning, “Whoever approaches, I will burn the house which is full of gas pipes, and I will bomb the house with whoever inside.”

“We’ve been in this home since the 1950s,” said another member of the Salhiyeh family from the rooftop, adding that the residents of the house “don’t have anywhere to go.”

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