EU diplomats delegation to Jersualem - photo credit EU and the Palestinians Facebook page
CAIRO – 4 August 2017: A delegation of European Union (EU) diplomats visited a Palestinian family in Jerusalem facing threats of eviction by the Israeli occupation forces in favor for building illegal settlements.
The delegation toured the “Sheikh Jarrah” neighborhood in Jerusalem and was briefed about the escalated settlement expansion plans mentioned by the Israeli government on July 7. The delegation expressed deep concern over the Israeli threats and vowed to follow up on the case.
In March 2017, Israeli authorities ruled to evict the Palestinian “Shamasna” family from their home in Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in favor of an Israeli settlement complex. The home hosts 83-year-old Ayoub Shamasna and his 74-year-old wife, along with their sons, daughter-in-law, and their six grandchildren. They have resided in the house since 1964. The Shamsana family provided all necessary documentation and contracts to prove their ownership of the house since 1970, but the Israeli authorities rejected all corroborations and appeals filed to protect the family from forced eviction.
Palestinians are planning a sit-in on Saturday outside the Shamasna house to protest the Israeli eviction order.
Several homes and villages in the occupied Palestinian territories have been evicted in favor of building illegal Israeli settlements without respect for Palestinians’ dignity. In 2013, Israel launched a mass Bedouin home eviction campaign, while Palestinians strongly resisted these Israeli attempts to erase the identity of several Palestinian villages and organized sit-ins and protests, as well as online campaigns to highlight the human rights violations committed by Israeli occupation forces against Palestinians.
Palestinians’ demands and protests were faced with more escalation from the Israeli side, as the government approved a legislation that discriminates against Bedouins and authorized large-scale displacement while severely restricting their ability to appeal. Israeli government officials estimated that implementing the law would displace at least 30,000 Bedouin.
According to Human Rights Watch (HRW), 200,000 Bedouin live in the southern Negev region; the majority live in seven government-planned townships, and several thousand more live in 11 Bedouin communities that Israel is in the process of “recognizing”. However, Israel’s planning documents and maps exclude 35 “unrecognized” Bedouin communities, where the government estimates that 70,000 to 90,000 people live. The organization continued that Israel demolishes Bedouin homes in the Negev on the basis that they were built without permits. For decades, Israel has refused to either legally recognize these communities or allow their residents to gain title to ancestral land. The Israeli government has rejected discussions of proposed plans submitted by groups seeking authorization for Bedouin communities, making it impossible for residents to obtain building permits. In contrast, the government takes an active role in planning and expanding Jewish communities in the region, and has retroactively authorized construction there by Jewish citizens.
Since 2013, HRW has documented the demolition of 18 Bedouin homes and 11 other structures, including eight tents where victims of previous demolitions were living. According to the organization, in one case, security forces demolished the home of a family that had two children with disabilities, without allowing their parents time to retrieve the childrens’ medication, hearing aids or oxygen canister. R., 26 years old, said that an Israeli security official refused his and his wife’s requests for more time before their home was bulldozed and the rubble trucked away to a dump.