Israel’s demolition of Palestinian family house in Sheikh Jarrah is war crime, says HRW

Occupied Palestine (The Inside Palestine)- Human Rights Watch denounced on Wednesday Israel’s demolition of Palestinian family house and forcibly displacing its 18 members, saying these are “war crimes” and “Perpetrators should be prosecuted and sanctioned.”

The New York-based rights group director in Palestine, Omar Shakir, said that Israel’s demolition of the house of the Palestinian family of Salhiya after raiding their house in Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in occupied Jerusalem on Wednesday and forcibly displacing its members “are war crimes. This is what apartheid and persecution looks like.”

“Perpetrators should be prosecuted and sanctioned. End Complicity. Save Sheikh Jarrah,” the HRW director said in a statement he tweeted on Wednesday.

“The Salhiyehs were expelled from their home in Ein Kerem during the Nakba in 1948 and are barred under Israeli law from reclaiming it.”

“These cruel acts turn the Salhiyehs into two-time refugees. This is what apartheid and persecution looks like. Perpetrators of these crimes against humanity should be prosecuted and sanctioned. Complicity in them should end.”

Israeli occupation forces demolished Salhiya family house after raiding their house in Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in occupied Jerusalem in the early morning hours of Wednesday, violently arresting and assaulting family members.

Local sources and family members said that around 3am local time, a large number of Israeli police units, including counter-terrorism and riot police forces accompanied with bulldozers, raided the Salhiya house.

Yasmin Salhiya, a resident of the house and daughter of the owner Mahmoud Salhiya, said that the large Israeli force had cut off electricity from the house as they raided it, and started firing tear gas to block everyone’s vision.

The forces then attacked the family and arrested five of its members, including Mahmoud. Among the assaulted were a nine-year-old daughter of Mahmoud and her aunt.

Also, over 22 supporters who were camping inside the property in solidarity with the family were also assaulted and arrested by the forces.

The forces separated everyone that was there and started beating the youths before arresting them in the jeeps and taking them away.

The owner of the house was asleep when they arrested him and they didn’t let him put a jacket or shoes on, despite the heavy rains and cold temperatures.

The forces then started emptying the house and then started firing rubber-coated metal bullets at journalists and supporters who were outside the house.

They also prevented the ambulances from accessing the site and reaching the wounded family members.

The Israeli bulldozers then started demolishing the house, finishing the demolition three hours later and leaving the house in ruins while the family’s possessions were seen scattered on the ground.

On Monday morning, the Israeli forces also attempted to forcibly displaced the Salhiya family from its house. They raided the area and demolished five businesses Mahmoud owned.

However, Mahmoud refused to obey the order of the Israeli occupation municipality and threatened to set himself and the house on fire, in opposition to the forced displacement.

Hours later, the Israeli forces left the area after demolishing five businesses owned by Mahmoud.

The Salhiya family was displaced from its house in the west Jerusalem neighborhood of Ein Karem in 1948 during the ethnic cleansing of the village.

They bought a new house in the 1950s in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, over a decade before ‘Israel’ occupied and annexed the area.

Eighteen people lived on the property in two adjacent houses, including Mahmoud, his wife and children, his mother and his sister’s family. The whole family is made up of 9 children.

The family was offered by the occupation municipality an eight-month extension to convince them to sign a paper stating that they would become a tenant of the house, but they refused.

The family also said that the battle to keep its house had cost them around NIS 600,000 (about $ 190,000) in fines, the cost of filing cases and appointing lawyers.

More than 500 Palestinians living in 28 houses in the neighborhood are also threatened with forced displacement by settler organizations supported by the Israeli occupation government.

Source: QNN

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