Israeli settlers march in East Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood
Settlers chant anti-Palestinian, anti-Arab slogans in front of homes of Palestinian families facing eviction
Dozens of Israeli settlers on Wednesday staged a rally in the flashpoint Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in occupied East Jerusalem.
Flag-waving settlers rallied in front of Palestinian homes, whose owners are being threatened with eviction from the neighborhood, residents said.
Settlers chanted anti-Palestinian and anti-Arab slogans during the rally, which was organized by right-wing settler groups.
Earlier on Wednesday, Israeli police sealed off the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood and expelled activists present in the area to support the Palestinian families.
According to the Jerusalem-based Wadi Hilweh Information Center, the police move came ahead of the settler march in the neighborhood.
Palestinians in Sheikh Jarrah have complained of repeated attacks by settlers, who reside next to them in homes taken from Palestinians over past years.
Last month, the Palestinian families facing eviction rejected a proposal by Israel’s Supreme Court to stay in their homes as tenants of the Nahalat Shimon settler organization.
In 1956, 28 families settled in Sheikh Jarrah under an agreement with the Jordanian government, which ruled the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, before the Israeli occupation in 1967, and the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA).
Israeli settlement associations, however, claim that the homes were built on land that was owned by Jews before 1948, a claim vehemently rejected by Palestinians.
* Writing by Ahmed Asmar and Mahmoud Barakat in Ankara
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