Arab League lambasts eviction of Palestinians in Jerusalem

By Diana Chalhoub

ANKARA (AA) – The Arab League on Thursday condemned the forced eviction of residents of Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in East Jerusalem, calling it "a full-fledged crime".

"The eviction is targeting 28 homes inhabited by 500 Palestinian families to open the way to Jewish settlers to eliminate the Palestinian presence," the regional organization said in a statement.

"The eviction of residents from the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in East Jerusalem is a full-fledged crime,” the statement read.

The organization called on the international community to put an end to the violations against the most basic rights of Palestinians and entrench a system of apartheid in the occupied territories.

In the past months, the Israeli Central Court in East Jerusalem approved a decision to evict seven Palestinian families from their homes in favor of Israeli settlers as of the beginning of this year.

On Sunday, Israel’s Supreme Court postponed its ruling regarding the Jerusalemite families threatened with eviction from their homes in the neighborhood in favor of settlement associations. The court gave the two sides four days until Thursday to reach an agreement between them before issuing its final decision.

Since 1956, a total of 37 Palestinian families have been living in 27 homes in the neighborhood. However, illegal Jewish settlers have been trying to push them out on the basis of a law approved by the Israeli parliament in 1970.

Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were forced in 1948 to flee their villages and towns in historical Palestine to neighboring countries including Jordan, Lebanon and Syria.

Residents of another part of Palestine found themselves displaced to the Gaza Strip and the West Bank amid rising attacks by Zionist gangs to pave the way for the creation of the state of Israel.

Palestinians use "Nakba" in Arabic, or "The Catastrophe,” to refer to the 1948 expulsions by Zionist gangs.

The Palestinian-Israeli conflict dates back to 1917, when the British government, in the now-famous Balfour Declaration, called for "the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people."

*Bassel Barakat in Ankara contributed to this report