Human Lives Human Rights: The Israeli army and security forces have been pursuing the occupation of the Palestinian neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah and annexing it to Israeli territory, continuing their anti-human rights activities since the last year.
This article tries to examine and analyze the legal conditions of Israeli action in addition to Israel’s actions over the past year to occupy Sheikh Jarrah and the Israeli reason for this action.
According to a preliminary ruling by the Israeli Supreme Court in November 2020, Palestinian residents of the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood were to evacuate their homes by May 2021 to house Jewish settlers. This court historically considers the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood to belong to the Jews. The Israeli army’s attempt to enforce the ruling on time, in May 2020, which coincided with the Islamic month of Ramadan, led to days of clashes between Palestinian Arabs and Israeli security forces.
However, despite Palestinian Arab resistance to Israeli actions over the past year, Israeli security forces have continued to harass Sheikh Jarrah’s Arab residents and seek their gradual removal from the area. For example, in January 2022, in the middle of the night, Israeli police raided the home of a resident of Sheikh Jarrah, evicted 15 residents and then demolished the house with a bulldozer. The move was met with a backlash from the British local consulate.
Also in February 2022, it was announced that Itamar Ben-Guyer, a far-right member of the Israeli Knesset, would reopen his office as a member of parliament in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood. In the latest move in March 2022, dozens of Zionist settlers attacked Sheikh Jarrah under the support of Israeli security forces. The attacks lasted nearly for twenty days. The purpose of these attacks and demonstrations was to pressure the Israeli government to forcibly evacuate Sheikh Jarrah from its Arab inhabitants.
But what is Israel’s intention to occupy Sheikh Jarrah? It could be said that according to the Israeli claims, the land on which Palestinian homes were built previously belonged to Jewish families. In fact, Tel Aviv ostensibly claims that the issue of Sheikh Jarrah’s property is not related to the government, rather, is a private property dispute whose decision depends on the court.
Israel occupied East Jerusalem in the 1967 war and later effectively annexed it. Thus, Israel considers East Jerusalem as part of its capital. Sheikh Jarrah, on the other hand, is of strategic importance to Israel and is the connection point between East and West Jerusalem. In fact, by occupying Sheikh Jarrah, Israel seeks to impose its domination on East Jerusalem.
It must be noted that the residents of Sheikh Jarrah are displaced people who were displaced in 1948 after the occupation of Palestine by the Zionists. At the time, the Jordanian government ruled the West Bank and Jerusalem, settling the families in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood.
Also since 1956, 27 Palestinian families have been housed under an agreement between the Jordanian government (which ruled the West Bank and East Jerusalem before the 1967 occupation of Jerusalem) and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), along with the threat of confiscation by the Zionists.
On the other hand, many UN General Assembly resolutions, such as the resolution “Permanent Sovereignty of Palestine on the Occupied Palestinian Territories, including East Jerusalem”, emphasize the right of the Palestinian government to rule the eastern parts of Jerusalem, such as Sheikh Jarrah. But the Israeli government, as in many other cases in this case, is still seeking the annexation of Sheikh Jarrah to its territory, ignoring all these conventions and records.