A family from Palestine has been evicted from their home in an Israeli police nightlong operation in East Jerusalem in the Sheikh Jarrah community.
The removal was conducted after getting consent from the district court, said the Jerusalem municipality. This would indicate that a school for the children with special needs in the neighborhood could be constructed on the lot.
On Monday, the immense operation started when Israeli police and municipality employees, closely reinforced by a handful of heavily equipped Israeli special forces, closed in with a bulldozer and more heavy machinery.
A building composed of metal and glass accommodating a nursery for plants was knocked down at the same instant the family, together with their allies, positioned themselves on the roof of their house to show resistance.
At some point, family head Mahmoud Salhiyeh attempted to intimidate demolishers by threatening to ignite a gas canister and set fire to the house, where he along with his wife and five children lived.
The demolition seemed to have paused Monday night, before starting again in the early morning of Wednesday with the family’s elimination, and the knocking down of the last few buildings standing on the lot.
According to an eyewitness, “They arrived around three o’clock in the morning, cut the electricity and surrounded the house, raiding it and detaining all members who were in the house.”
“A number of people were arrested for questioning on suspicion of violating a court order, violent fortification and disturbing public order,” said the Jerusalem municipality in a statement.
“Since the evacuation order was issued in 2017, 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 dialog attempts by the Jerusalem municipality,” the statement further said.
Sheikh Jarrah is among a number of communities in East Jerusalem where residential buildings and businesses encounter demolition operations.
In some instances, the structures have illicitly been built or have faced expropriation notices, says authorities. In others, the land ownership has been confronted by Jewish organizations in who-knows-how-long court cases.