Britain (The inside Palestine)- Over 80 British parliamentarians representing all parties, in both the House of Commons and the House of Lords, sent a letter to the British Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, urging the British government to do everything in its power to prevent the mass/forced evictions and dispossession of Palestinian families in Jerusalem.
The letter, sent by Julie Elliott MP and Rt Hon Baroness Sayeeda Warsi as co-chairs of the Britain-Palestine All-Party Parliamentary Group.
“As you are well aware, the forcible transfer of an occupied population is a grave violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention, as is the transfer of an occupier’s population into occupied territory, which includes East Jerusalem,” the parliamentarians said in the letter.
“All this occurs in the context of Israel’s illegal annexation of occupied East Jerusalem and internationally condemned practices that include the forcible transfer of Palestinian families and settlement expansion throughout the occupied Palestinian territories.”
About 200 families in Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan are in danger of being dispossessed following a legal battle waged against them by Israeli settler organisations.
“We believe that given the huge scale of this planned dispossession which would amount to the largest displacement of Palestinians since 1967, diplomatic words of concern are insufficient,” the parliamentarians stated.
“Members of the Britain-Palestine All Party Parliamentary Group recently heard from Palestinian writer Mohammed El-Kurd and Israeli settlement expert, and Director of Peace Now’s Settlement Watch Programme, Hagit Ofran about the looming threat of dispossession that hundreds of Palestinians face in East Jerusalem, in neighbourhoods such as Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan.’
“As neighbours to these Palestinian families in Sheikh Jarrah, the British Consulate in Jerusalem knows full well of the anxieties and trauma that exists, not least because some of our own Consulate colleagues are part of these families.
They also stated that “all measures should be on the table” for the UK government, “including reducing diplomatic engagement and banning trade in settlement products in full conformity with international law obligations in order to challenge the settler economy that profits from the occupation.”
The letter sent a day before the appeal hearing of four Palestinian families from Sheikh Jarrah.
The families are in danger of dispossession due to the claim that the land on which their homes were built belonged to Jews before 1948, but the families cannot claim the properties they lost in ‘48 within the Green Line.
“The UK government must urge the government of Israel to put a stop to the forcible transfer of families from their homes in occupied East Jerusalem,” the letter read.
“The British Consulate needs to ensure that regular visits are made to Palestinian families and communities under threat of mass/forcible eviction and dispossession, in East Jerusalem and across the rest of the West Bank, demonstrating full solidarity and all assistance to them within its power.”