The international community must take immediate action to stop Israel’s forced evictions and displacement of Palestinians in East Jerusalem as part of Israel’s annexation and de-Palestinization of the city, United Nations experts said in a statement on Thursday.
“The world’s attention has been focused on Israel’s recklessness in Al-Aqsa, and rockets that were fired, with the deadly attacks against Israeli and international civilians making headlines. All the while, tenfold Palestinian deaths were not making similar headlines,” the experts said.
“There has been an ongoing and unchecked tragedy: the forced eviction of Palestinians from their homes”.
The experts said these laws were designed to consolidate Jewish ownership in Jerusalem, irredeemably altering its demographic composition and status.
“Israel’s transfer of its own population into the occupied territory confirms a deliberate intention to colonize the territory it occupies – a practice strictly prohibited by international humanitarian law,” they said, reiterating their past statement. “It amounts to a prima facie war crime.”
According to the experts, an estimated 150 Palestinian families in the Old City of Jerusalem adjacent neighborhoods, such as Silwan and Sheikh Jarrah, are at risk of forced eviction and displacement by Israeli authorities and settler organizations.
The experts expressed specific concern for three families in East Jerusalem: the Shehade family in Silwan, the Ghaith-Sub Laban family in the Old City and the Salem family in Sheikh Jarrah.
According to the experts, despite living in their homes for many decades under a protected tenancy lease, these families have faced eviction lawsuits filed by settler organizations seeking to take over their properties for years.
“The establishment and expansion of settlements constitute a grave breach of international law, prosecutable under the Rome Statute. No State should passively acquiesce with these illegal acts to trump the rights of Palestinians to self-determination, adequate housing, property, non-discrimination,” the experts stressed.
“The occupation must end with all deliberate speed and, until that day, Israel must comply fully with international humanitarian law and international human rights law obligations.”
The experts said they have repeatedly raised these issues with the Israeli government without any response to date.
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