At least 15 arrests in clashes between Israelis and Palestinians in East Jerusalem
For the second night in a row, violence erupts in the city’s suburb of Sheikh Jarrah. A dispute over properties between Jewish settlers and Palestinians is at the root of the issue. On Monday, Israel’s Supreme Court will hold a hearing over the issue. For the UN, the situation is “very worrying”.
Jerusalem (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Israeli police arrested at least 15 Palestinians following last night's clashes in East Jerusalem, triggered by the eviction threat against at least four Palestinian families.
The second straight night of rioting in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood was fuelled by a years-long land dispute between Palestinian refugees and Jewish settlers in the strategic district near Jerusalem's Old City.
The current violence is part of ongoing political and social tensions in the area, starting with the clashes that took place during Ramadan, the holy month of fasting and prayer, and which led to the death of young people on both sides.
Political instability has compounded the problem. In Israel, an opposition leader has been given a mandate to form a government (which would end the Netanyahu era) while in Palestine, scheduled elections were postponed.
Israel remains in high alert in anticipation of next week's Eid-al-Fitr celebration, which will mark the end of Ramadan, an event that traditionally attracts tens of thousands of Palestinians to the Haram esh-Sharif or Temple Mount.
According to Israeli police, Palestinian protesters set fire to a car and threw stones at a house occupied by Jewish settlers. Palestinians also traded insults with far-right Israeli lawmaker Itamar Ben-Gvir, who visited the area to voice support for the Jewish settlers.
The dispute revolves around a long-running lawsuit over the homes of four Palestinian families, on land claimed by Jews.
Israel's Supreme Court had called on the sides to seek a compromise, but when that failed it announced it would hold a new hearing next Monday, which might spark more violence.
For Sheikh Jarrah's Palestinians, the expropriation of land is another step in the decades-long goal of Jewish settlers to drive Arabs out of East Jerusalem.
The Supreme Court will have to decide whether the Palestinians have the right to appeal against the decision of the district court which accepted the arguments made by the Jewish claimants.
The appeal process could take years.
“This land is Palestinian land... and we, the inhabitants of the neighbourhood, we cannot accept that this land is theirs. This land is ours,” said 77-year-old Nabeel al-Kurd, one of those facing eviction.
In light of the situation, the United Nations has voiced concern over the violence and anti-riot police's use of water cannons spraying foul-smelling liquid.
UN Middle East envoy Tor Wennesland said developments “related to the eviction of Palestine refugee families in Sheikh Jarrah and other neighbourhoods in occupied East Jerusalem” were “very worrying”.
“I urge Israel to cease demolitions and evictions, in line with its obligations under international humanitarian law,” he added.