World, Middle East

Evictions against Palestinians confirm apartheid in Israel: HRW

Planned evictions stem from Israeli policy to maintain 'solid Jewish majority' in East Jerusalem, says watchdog official

Sena Guler  | 11.05.2021 - Update : 11.05.2021
Evictions against Palestinians confirm apartheid in Israel: HRW


Planned expulsions of Palestinian residents of the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in occupied East Jerusalem confirm the reality of apartheid facing millions of Palestinians, according to the Human Rights Watch.

"Planned Sheikh Jarrah evictions stem from an Israeli government policy of 'maintaining a solid Jewish majority' in Jerusalem (& target demographic ratios btw Jewish Israelis & Palestinians there it has set out) & underscore reality of apartheid that millions of Palestinians face," Omar Shakir, Israel and Palestine director of the watchdog, said on Twitter.

Noting that a major escalation is underway in Palestine and Israel with significant human rights implications, he said the watchdog was investigating the events.

"Israeli government moving to evict Palestinians in Sheikh Jarrah under a law allowing Jewish Israelis to take over their homes based on prior ownership claim," he said.

Shakir said this would displace families who had been made refugees and barred by law from reclaiming the land previously taken from them.

Highlighting the brutal treatment of protesters by Israeli forces in occupied East Jerusalem, including in and around the holy site of Al-Aqsa Mosque, he said it stems from "a systematic practice of excessive force and impunity for serious abuses."

Open-air prison for over a decade

Shakir also underscored that rockets indiscriminately fired by Palestinian armed groups in response to Israeli attacks also endangers the lives and property of Israeli civilians and constitute war crimes.

"Israel's use of explosive weapons with wide-area effects in densely populated Gaza -- a population living in an open-air prison for 14 years -- is bound to result in civilian harm," Shakir said, adding that there had been alarming reports of many Palestinians killed on Tuesday.

The recent events highlight the need to end impunity for serious abuses, he said, calling on the International Criminal Court to investigate and prosecute those that are implicated.

"Cycles of escalations will persist so long as the international community continues to fail to take the human rights measures a situation of this gravity warrants," he concluded.

According to the Palestinian Red Crescent, at least 334 people were injured on Monday as Israeli forces fired rubber-coated bullets, tear gas, and stun grenades at Palestinians on guard to prevent possible raids by extremist Jews.

At least 24 Palestinians, including nine children, were also killed in the Gaza Strip in Israeli airstrikes conducted on Monday, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.

Tensions have run high in the Sheikh Jarrah area since last week as Israeli settlers swarmed in after an Israeli court ordered the eviction of Palestinian families.

Palestinians protesting in solidarity with the residents of Sheikh Jarrah have been targeted by Israeli forces. Hundreds of protesters have been injured in the course of events.

Israel occupied East Jerusalem during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war and annexed the entire city in 1980 -- a move that has never been recognized by the international community.

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