Most of the evictions of Palestinians in East Jerusalem fall within the context of three interconnected and strange legal arguments of Israeli Law. The three are The Absentees’ Law, The Legal and Administrative Matters Law, and the Master Plan 2000. The Israeli government uses this nefarious legal fodder to evict, confiscate, and demolish Palestinians homes. The Palestinians are at a legal disadvantage. They live within a systematic ethnic cleansing program that began before the 1947 United Nations resolution.
In 1950 Israel enacted the Absentees’ Property Law 1950. The law has no legal or moral validity. It granted the properties of Palestinians (who were evicted or fled the 1948 war) to the State of Israel. Those absentee Palestinians were not allowed to exercise their right of return, a right recognized by international law. This law became a state-sanctioned wholesale land grab. It has ensured that Palestinian refugees do not return or attempt to claim their stolen properties in Palestine. It gives Israel a cover for permanently confiscating Palestinian lands and homes.
In June 1967, after the Six-Day War, Israel became the occupier of Palestinian East Jerusalem. Then, in 1980, it illegally annexed it, dubbing Jerusalem as the “eternal and undivided capital of Israel”.
In 1970 the Legal and Administrative Matters Law was enacted. According to the new legal framework, only Israeli Jews were allowed to claim lost land and property in Palestinian areas. The laws allow the State and the illegal settlement enterprise to confiscate more Palestinian properties.
The Israeli government approved the Master Plan 2000, published in August 2004, a detailed spatial plan for both East and West Jerusalem. The Master Plan became a blueprint for a state-sponsored ethnic cleansing campaign, which saw the destruction of thousands of Palestinian homes and the subsequent eviction of numerous families.
2020 Israeli forces demolished over 176 Palestinian homes in occupied Jerusalem and approved 17,000 settlement units in the Holy City. Israeli occupation authorities have approved a forcibly evict of 400 Palestinians, including women and children, from their homes in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem.
In early 2021, the Israel District Court of Jerusalem, ruled in favor of the settler company Nahalat Shimon International, issuing eviction orders to 8 Palestinian families from the Karm Al Ja’ouni area in Sheikh Jarrah. Around 87 people including 28 children are at risk of losing their family home,
On March 10th, fourteen Palestinian and Arab organizations issued a joint urgent appeal to the United Nations Special Procedures on forced Israeli evictions in East Jerusalem.
In April, at the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, Israeli authorities banned East Jerusalem residents from congregating on the gate steps of Jerusalem’s Old City Damascus Gate. Damascus Gate is a social hub for many of the Old City’s Palestinian residents. It has been the setting of both civic and cultural gatherings and events.
Palestinian youth, not political factions, reacted to the placement of metal barricades to prevent entry onto the gate’s steps. Their nightly protests attracted groups of ultra-nationalist Jews marching through Jerusalem toward Damascus Gate, chanting “death to Arabs.” On April 25th, following twelve days of violent confrontation in East Jerusalem, Israeli authorities took down the barricades.
U.S. Congress Take a Stand
Three days earlier on April 22, the overwhelming majority of the U.S. Congress, 330 out of 435, signed a letter to the chair and ranking member of the House Appropriations Committee opposing any reduction or conditioning of U.S. monies to Israel. The letter was show-of-force from AIPAC and a repudiation of calls from some progressives in the Democratic Party to condition or restrict aid to Israel.
Meanwhile, many Palestinians angered over an Israeli Supreme Court ruling for a planned expulsion of four Palestinian families in Sheikh Jarrah, an East Jerusalem neighborhood. (only part of a sweep of at least 27 other households yet to be carried out) Local Palestinians organized daily sit-ins to break the Ramadan fast and protest the expulsions.
On May 10th, these protests attracted the attention of ultra-nationalist Jews, who, accompanied by newly elected Knesset member Itamar Ben Gvir, entered Sheikh Jarrah to disrupt and assault those who had gathered peacefully. Israeli police fired sponge bullets, stun grenades, and skunk water, causing hundreds of injuries.
Then on April 29th, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, announced he postponed legislative elections in the occupied Palestinian territories scheduled for May 22nd. Abbas may have feared his Fatah party would fare poorly but cited the postponement was because of an absence of Israeli assurances that East Jerusalem residents would be permitted to participate.
The Israeli authorities had disrupted election campaigning in East Jerusalem throughout April, arresting Palestinian politicians and their supporters. The detentions infuriated Palestinians across the political spectrum, as these actions threatened to obstruct their attempt at renewing their national institutions through the democratic process, as international actors had been encouraging them to do.
Re-supplies Will Be Needed For The Assault
On May 5th, honest Joe Biden notified Congress of its approval for Boeing’s sale of $735 worth of Joint Direct Attack Munitions to the Israeli regime. Sale is the wrong word because the Israelis do not buy them the US government gives them. The $3.8 billion in military aid to the Israeli government comes with a stipulation that it is used to buy American arms.
On the evening of May 7th, Israeli police clashed with young Palestinians and used force against worshippers at the Al-Aqsa mosque inside the walled Old City, injuring dozens. Police also closed the gates leading to the mosque, the third holiest site for Muslims after Mecca and Medina.
The police worsened matters further when they blocked busloads of Palestinian citizens from entering Jerusalem on May 8th, preventing thousands of Muslims from reaching Al-Aqsa for prayers on the holiest night of Ramadan. Israeli forces then attacked Muslim worshippers at the Holy Esplanade (Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount) that same evening.
The following day, Israeli forces breached the compound, firing stun grenades and tear gas canisters at worshippers, pushing their way into the mosque and attacking people inside. Scores of Palestinians were injured and many detained. On May 10th, Israeli soldiers staged another raid and confiscated the keys to the mosque’s main gates.
The events on May 10th coincided with what Israelis celebrate as Jerusalem Day, the reunification of East Jerusalem and the Old City with West Jerusalem. In reality, this is a celebration of Palestinian occupation and lands gained by the 1967 war.
The Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem had protested Jewish ultra-nationalist plans to march through the Old City toward Al-Aqsa. The Israeli authorities did redirect the march to avert further violence. Responding to the events in Jerusalem, Hamas’ military wing, admonished Israel to halt violence against Palestinians.
Plead to Stop
On May 10th, the Joint Chamber of Palestinian Resistance Factions in the Gaza Strip issued an ultimatum, declaring that Israel had until 6 pm local time to withdraw its forces from Al-Aqsa and Sheikh Jarrah and to release all those it had detained during these events. Shortly after the deadline expired, Hamas did as promised. They fired a series of rockets toward Israeli targets.
U.S. media attempts to portray the violence taking place currently as an even-handed struggle. It is not, Israel has been in control of historic Palestine for more than fifty years. It has the most powerful military in the Middle East. The Palestinians are unarmed, hitting Israel with “rockets” largely homemade and ineffective. The disparity in force is evident in the casualty count. More than 200 Palestinian Arabs (including 59 children) lie dead in Gaza, as do ten Israelis (including two children).
Give em Hell Joe
Jen Psaki, White House press spokesperson has provided Washington wisdom. She has announced Biden’s position on the ongoing violence in the Middle East is, “The president’s support for Israel’s security, for its legitimate right to defend itself and its people, is fundamental and will never waiver. We condemn ongoing rocket attacks by Hamas and other terrorist groups against Jerusalem.”
President Joe Biden has a long history of supporting and abetting Israeli crimes is clear. Insisting the latest massacre is justified by Israel’s “right to defend itself” and hoping that “this will be closing down sooner than later” is criminally negligent. His UN ambassador blocks a call for a ceasefire at the UN Security Council as he approves Direct Attack Munitions to the Israeli regime.
One thought on “#87 Our House – Sheikh Jarrah, Gaza, Biden and Israel”
As usual, you have researched thoroughly and presented clearly a very difficult topic. Thank you for your meticulous work on this; I just hope many people have a chance to read it.