Israeli Police Evict Palestinian Families from Occupied E. J’lem
[ … and speaking of slow-motion land theft and conquest ]
02/08/2009 Israeli occupation police is still continuing its evictions policy and the settlement plans in occupied East Jerusalem brushing aside all the objections of the international community that say that these settlements are illegal.
On Sunday, Israeli occupation police kicked out two Palestinian families from their homes in occupied east Jerusalem after a court rejected an appeal against their eviction.
Large numbers of Israeli police were involved in the operation in Sheikh Jarrah, one of the most sensitive and upmarket Arab neighborhoods closest to the so-called Green Line which separates occupied east and west Jerusalem.
The action, which is to allow Israeli families to set up home in the neighborhood, was condemned by the British consulate in occupied Jerusalem and comes amid international calls for Israel to halt settlement activity on occupied Palestinian land.
The evictions come after Jerusalem city authorities gave permission for the building of about 20 housing units on the site in Sheikh Jarrah, triggering an international outcry.
The British consulate, which is located in Sheikh Jarrah along with other foreign missions, said it was “appalled” by the Israeli action. “The Israelis’ claim that the imposition of extremist Jewish settlers into this ancient Arab neighborhood is a matter for the courts or the municipality is unacceptable,” it said in a statement. “These actions are incompatible with the Israeli professed desire for peace. We urge Israel not to allow the extremists to set the agenda.”
CONTROVERSIAL PLANS FUNDED BY US JEWS!
Meanwhile, Israeli daily Jerusalem Post said that Renco Group Inc. founder Ira Rennert and bingo entrepreneur Irving Moskowitz are among US donors who have given $25.4 million in five years to build Israeli homes in Arab parts of occupied Jerusalem – the same areas where President Barack Obama is pressing Israel to stop such construction.
The American contributions, detailed in Internal Revenue Service records, have gone to organizations such as Ateret Cohanim. The group says it bought at least 45 properties, most in the Muslim Quarter, to advance its goal of an Israeli majority in the predominantly Arab Old City.
The donations have also helped fund plans to build Jewish homes on the Shepherd Hotel site in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood. The US State Department two weeks ago asked Israel to halt the project, which has been condemned as a threat to Israeli-Palestinian peace prospects by the French government, the European Union and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
Plans to build homes for Jews in that part of the city are “the type of issue that should be subject to permanent-status negotiations,” State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley told reporters on July 20.
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said at a July 19 cabinet meeting in response to the US criticism that Israel wouldn’t tolerate any restrictions on Jews buying property in the city. “Our sovereignty in Jerusalem is indisputable,” Netanyahu said.
While occupied West Bank settlements also attract American contributors, occupied Jerusalem is the region’s main flashpoint, said Gershom Gorenberg, author of The Accidental Empire: Israel and the Birth of the Settlements.
Palestinians view occupied east Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state, a goal Gorenberg said the Jewish real-estate purchases are meant to block. Donors “want to prevent any political compromise that might lead to a peace agreement,” he said.
Ateret Cohanim leaders point to municipal records and maps that show a Jewish majority in the Old City between 1880 and 1936, before Jordan captured the area in 1948. Most of the properties they have bought once had Jewish owners, the group says.
“We are coming home, we are growing, we are building and it will continue,” said Yossi Baumol, former executive director of Ateret Cohanim. He now raises money for the Jewish community in Al-Khalil.
Obama has picked the wrong battle, says Michael Rubin, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington.
“Obama should be president and broker final-status talks, he shouldn’t be the zoning commissioner,” Rubin said in an e-mail. “If Obama is saying that since Jerusalem is disputed, no construction should be permitted, he’s now going to face demands about ALL construction in the city, both Arab and Jewish.”
Another group, the Elad Association, has focused on implanting about 60 Jewish families among the 3,000 Palestinians who live in the Wadi Hilweh and Bustan areas in the Silwan neighborhood, according to Ir Amim, an advocacy group for Palestinians in the city. The homes sit on a steep slope below the Old City.