Sheikh Jarrah family may soon be kicked out of their home by extremist Jewish settlers
Emboldened by a new right-wing government, Israeli settlers claimed a small plot of land adjacent to the Salem home in Sheikh Jarrah, occupied East Jerusalem.
On Monday, several young men were seen levelling the ground to make it a parking lot for Jewish settlers.
Fatemeh Salem, 74, and her family have been fighting off forcible transfer from their home for years after the Israeli courts ruled in favour of ownership claims laid by Jewish settler groups.
Fatemeh Salem is a Palestine refugee. During the 1948 war, her parents were forced out of Yaffa. Israel never allowed them to go back.
In 1970 the Israeli parliament legislated a law that allowed Jews to reclaim properties lost during the 1948 war. However, the law excluded Palestinians who lost property in the same conflict, including Palestinian citizens of Israel.
The Salem family came close to getting kicked out from their home back in December 2021, but the Israeli government put the eviction order on hold under public and diplomatic pressure.
Now, things have changed.
Last Friday, Yonatan Yosef, a Jerusalem city council member, marched with a group of Jewish settlers in Sheikh Jarrah, chanting in Hebrew and English, "We want Nakba now."
Nakba is the Palestinian term for the ethnic cleansing of more than 700,000 Palestinians from their lands at the hands of Jewish armed groups in 1948.
"What's happening here is a provocation," Ibrahim, Fatemeh's son, told The New Arab.
"They're making a new reality here, they're doing things they couldn't do before, now that Ben-Gvir is in power," he added.
Yonatan Yosef, a grandson of the late Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, desires to settle Jews in all of East Jerusalem. He sees it as a religious duty. He was quoted saying, "Our dream is that all East Jerusalem will be like West Jerusalem...A Jewish capital of Israel."
full video here:https://t.co/Mvox8I7Bv2— Uri Agnon (@UriAgnon) January 13, 2023
In late 2021, he and deputy mayor Aryeh King, another high-profile pro-settler activist, delivered a court eviction notice to the Salem family. Yosef claims that he had bought the rights to the property from the settler group that had established ownership.
The Salem home is located in the Western part of Sheikh Jarrah, not far from a group of families that face similar threats by settler organisations and whose plight galvanised behind them Palestinians on both sides of the green line, culminating in an 11-day war between Hamas and Israel.
The Jerusalem municipality did not formally react to Yonatan Yosef's call for ethnic cleansing against Palestinians. However, council member Laura Wharton dubbed Yosef "vile" and "despised."
Fifteen members of the Salem family live in Sheikh Jarrah.
"If the court issues an eviction order on March 9, we will not leave," said Ibrahim Salem.
A video showing a group of Israeli settlers assaulting a Palestinian hikers, including foreigners, near Jericho City/Dead Sea. pic.twitter.com/QrEnTJmqcX— Local Focus - Security Alerts (@LocalFocus1) January 14, 2023