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UN urges Israel to stop demolitions and evacuations in Sheikh Jarrah in West Bank

A blindfolded Palestinian demonstrator is surrounded by Israeli security forces, as Palestinian families face eviction as Jewish Israelis take control of homes in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of occupied east Jerusalem. (AFP)
A blindfolded Palestinian demonstrator is surrounded by Israeli security forces, as Palestinian families face eviction as Jewish Israelis take control of homes in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of occupied east Jerusalem. (AFP)
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07 May 2021 12:05:36 GMT9
07 May 2021 12:05:36 GMT9

Arab News

  • UN says eviction of Palestine refugee families in other neighborhoods in occupied East Jerusalem are ‘very worrying’
  • Wennesland says ‘deeply concerned’ by surge in tensions and violence in occupied West Bank since start of Ramadan

LONDON: The UN special coordinator for the Middle East peace process urged Israel to cease demolitions and evictions, in line with its obligations under international humanitarian law.

“The latest developments related to the eviction of Palestine refugee families in Sheikh Jarrah and other neighborhoods in occupied East Jerusalem are also very worrying,” Tor Wennesland said in a statement on Thursday.

Twenty-two Palestinians were wounded in overnight clashes with Israeli police in annexed east Jerusalem, the Red Crescent said Thursday, as tensions flared over a controversial land rights case.

The legal case centers on the homes of four Palestinian families in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood near Jerusalem’s walled Old City on land claimed by Jews.

He also said he was “deeply concerned” by the surge in tensions and violence in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, since the start of the Muslim month of Ramadan.

“In the past few days alone, two Palestinians, including a woman and a child, were killed in separate incidents, by Israeli security forces (ISF) in the context of clashes or attacks,” said Wennesland.

He also said an Israeli was killed by a Palestinian in a drive-by shooting, and several others were injured.

“I reiterate that ISF must exercise maximum restraint and use lethal force only when strictly unavoidable in order to protect life,” he added.

Last month, anti-Arab Israeli extremists, emboldened by the election of their allies to parliament, began a march calling for violence against Arabs.

The move raised tensions, prompting cross-border attacks from Gaza and clashes between Palestinians and Israeli police.

Wennesland said perpetrators of violence on all sides must be held accountable and swiftly brought to justice.

“I call on political, religious and community leaders on all sides to stand firmly against violence, incitement and inflammatory rhetoric,” he said, adding “if unaddressed, the situation could spiral out of control.”

Meanwhile, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Britain urged Israel on Thursday to halt its decision to further building of new settlements in the West Bank.

“We urge the government of Israel to reverse its decision to advance the construction of 540 settlement units in the Har Homa E area of the occupied West Bank, and to cease its policy of settlement expansion across the Occupied Palestinian Territories,” the European nations said in a joint statement.

“If implemented, the decision to advance settlements in Har Homa, between East Jerusalem and Bethlehem, will cause further damage to the prospects for a viable Palestinian State, with Jerusalem as the capital of both Israel and a Palestinian State,” they said.

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