Israeli police on Jan. 19 demolished a Palestinian family’s home in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah after a high-profile lengthy standoff.
Before dawn, Israeli police officers went to the house of the Salhiya family and carried out an “eviction order of illegal buildings built on grounds designated for a school of children with special needs.”
The Salhiya family, who were first served an eviction notice in 2017, had threatened on Jan. 17 to burn their home rather than be forced out, prompting Israeli police to leave the area.
Israeli police returned on Jan. 19 with an excavator to raze the property.
“Members of the family living in the illegal buildings were given countless opportunities to hand over the land with consent, but unfortunately they refused to do so, even after meetings and repeated dialogue attempts by the Jerusalem municipality,” police said in a statement.
Salhiya family lawyer Walid Abu-Tayeh said that the demolition was illegal.
Israeli police also arrested at least 18 people for “violating a court order, violent fortification, and disturbing public order,” a spokesperson told AFP News.
However, no clashes took place during the eviction.
Human Rights Watch Israel and Palestine Director Omar Shakir called the eviction and demolition “war crimes.”
Shakir said that the Salhiya family had previously been expelled from their home in Ein Kerem in 1948, making them “two-time refugees” with the latest eviction.
“This is what apartheid and persecution looks like. Perpetrators of these crimes against humanity should be prosecuted and sanctioned. Complicity in them should end,” Shakir said.
The eviction of other families from Sheikh Jarrah in May 2021 partly triggered the 11-day violence between Israel and armed Palestinian factions in Gaza, killing hundreds, including children and women.
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