New York /PNN/
The United Nations has denounced Israeli forced expulsion of Palestinian families from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem, slamming the move as a “violation of international law”.
Stephane Dujarric, a spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, made the remarks at a weekly news conference at the UN headquarters in New York on Sunday, after a UN delegation visited the occupied Palestinian territories, where they met a Palestinian family facing imminent eviction in Sheikh Jarrah.
“Representatives of the United Nations, which are responsible for humanitarian measures, visited the neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah.” Dujarric said, as he confirmed the news of the visit.
He added that a number of UN and its affiliated agencies’ representatives met with a Palestinian family, who have been living in their home for 70 years in Sheikh Jarrah, and are now facing the risk of displacement.
The Palestinian family includes six children and an elderly woman and is one of 218 Palestinian families, comprising 970 individuals, who live in the neighborhoods of East Jerusalem, including Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan.
Dujarric said the UN has repeatedly called for an end to the forced eviction and demolition of homes in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.
He said under international humanitarian law, Israeli forces are prohibited from forcibly deporting protected persons, regardless of the motive behind such deportation. Dujarric further called on the Israeli authorities to “adopt the necessary steps to protect civilians, including Palestinian refugees.”
Sheikh Jarrah has been a flashpoint witnessing crackdowns by Israeli forces on the Palestinians protesting against the threatened expulsion of dozens of Palestinian families from their homes in favor of Israeli settlers.
Since Israel seized East Jerusalem in a 1967 war, Israeli settler organizations have claimed ownership of land in Sheikh Jarrah and filed multiple lawsuits to evict Palestinians from the area.
Much of the international community considers the Israeli settlement structures illegal under international law due to their construction on occupied territory.
The looming Sheikh Jarrah expulsions have also drawn international attention and sparked global outrage. The forced evictions are widely seen as part of Israel’s attempts to change the demographic character of the occupied territories.