Israel’s Supreme Court on Thursday approved the eviction of scores of Palestinian families from their homes in East Jerusalem.
“The court rejected a petition against the decision, filed by the families, to evict them from their homes in East Jerusalem’s Silwan neighborhood just south of the Al-Aqsa Mosque complex,” Fahkri Abu Diab, spokesman for the Committee for the Defense of the Land, a Palestinian NGO, told Anadolu Agency.
“The families lodged the petition with the Supreme Court after the eviction orders were issued by a district court in Jerusalem,” Abu Diab said.
He added: “The decision means that more than 100 families will likely lose their homes to Jewish settlers.”
According to Abu Diab, the families currently live in 70 homes built on roughly five dunums of land. (One dunum is roughly equivalent to 1,000 square meters.)
Jewish settler groups claim the land on which these homes were built had been owned by Yemeni Jews before 1948, when the State of Israel was first established.
Israel first occupied the Palestinian West Bank, including East Jerusalem, during the 1967 Arab-Israeli War.
In a move never recognized by the international community, it annexed the entire city in 1980, claiming it as the Jewish state’s “eternal and undivided” capital.
International law continues to view the West Bank and East Jerusalem as “occupied territories” and considers all Jewish settlement-building activity on the land as illegal.
Palestinians have long accused Israel of waging a campaign to “Judaize” the city with the aim of effacing its historical Arab and Islamic identity and gradually driving out its Palestinian inhabitants.
In a related development, the Israeli army late Wednesday arrested 20 Palestinians in overnight raids carried out across the West Bank.
The individuals were arrested for “suspected involvement in popular terrorist activities”, the army said in a Thursday statement, without elaborating on the nature of said “activities”.
The Israeli army frequently carries out wide-ranging arrest campaigns across the occupied territories on the pretext of searching for “wanted” Palestinians.
According to Palestinian figures, some 6,500 Palestinians are currently languishing in Israeli detention facilities, including scores of women and hundreds of minors.