Settlers take control of yet another home in Sheikh Jarrah

Another day and another move towards ethnic cleansing in East Jerusalem:

This morning around 10.45 a.m. a group of settlers, reportedly numbering up to 40 people, accompanied by armed guards, entered and took control of a part of the home of the Rivka al-Kurd family in Sheikh Jarrah.

The group proceeded to empty the home of its contents, throwing furniture and personal belongings of the family out on the street.

Israeli police have arrived on the scene, but have not taken action against the group. The police claims that the group has occupied the home pursuant to a court order and that the police are there to help enforce the court order. The police have arrested at least one international observer who was present at the scene.

The home of the Rivka al-Kurd family is located on the same road as that of the Al Ghawi family, which was forcibly evicted and their home handed over to a group of settlers on 2 August. Initial reports indicate that the same group may be involved.

The Rivka al-Kurd family is one of the 28 refugee families who were provided with homes in the area by UNRWA and the Jordanian government in 1956. Like the other refugee families in Sheikh Jarrah they fled or were expelled from areas that are now in Israel, in most cases leaving behind land and property, which they have been unable to reclaim ever since.

As in the case of the Hanoun and Al Ghawi families, the Rivka al-Kurd family has been fighting a legal battle against an Israeli settler organization, which claims ownership of the land and has accused the family of failing to pay rent and/or for making changes or renovations to their home. According to the information we have the legal case is still ongoing. The lawyer of the family has however confirmed that he received a letter from the court this morning informing him that the settler organization has obtained a court order permitting them to enter the house; it is unclear at this stage whether that means that the group will be allowed to occupy the building on a permanent basis.

The situation is still evolving and it is unclear at this stage whether the settler group will retain control of the house. We will keep you informed as the situation evolves. In the meantime, we encourage you to take appropriate action to protest these developments in the strongest terms and urge relevant authorities to immediately halt the forced eviction of Palestinian families in occupied East Jerusalem.

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