British-Arab advocacy group urges UK to take action against Israel over Sheikh Jarrah Palestinian evictions
A British-Arab advocacy group has urged the UK government to take action to prevent the forced eviction of Palestinian families from a suburb in East Jerusalem on Thursday.
In a press release, the London-based Council for Arab-British Understanding (CAABU) welcomed a statement by the British consul general and his visit to Palestinian families in Sheikh Jarrah, where six families are due to be evicted on Thursday.
The group demanded that the UK's words come with "actions and consequences for the occupying power, Israel".
An Israeli court on Sunday postponed a decision to evict six Palestinian families from their homes until Thursday, ruling that the families must reach an agreement with Israeli settlers who want to take over their property.
The same court ruled that another seven families in Sheikh Jarrah have until 1 August to evacuate their homes.
Caabu slammed Israeli "excuses" which dismissed the possible eviction as a "private civil dispute between two parties".
"It is grounded in discriminatory Israeli law. Israel's legal and judicial system maintains the law of occupied that is designed to work against the occupied, in this case the Sheikh Jarrah families", Caabu said.
Activists and rights groups have already criticised the Israeli court decisions as amounting to "ethnic cleansing" of Palestinians, seeing it as part of Israel's long attempt to alter the demographic makeup of Jerusalem to ensure Palestinians are a minority.
Israel has expelled scores of Palestinians from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah and other areas in past years.
Those facing eviction in Sheikh Jarrah were originally displaced from Jaffa and other areas in what is now Israel in 1948 and resettled in the East Jerusalem suburb in 1956 under a UN refugee programme, when the sector was under Jordanian rule.
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Caabu suggested the UK put forward a clear political demand identified as a "moratorium on evictions for Palestinians".
It highlighted a UN recommendation for Israel to bring its planning laws and policies to accord with its obligations under international humanitarian and human rights law, which states that the forced transfer of occupied populations is a war crime.
Israeli police have cracked down violently on Palestinians protesting in solidarity with residents of Shekh Jarrah, injuring scores with the use batons, tear gas and skunk spray.
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