Eight members of a Palestinian family spanning three generations were forcibly evicted from their East Jerusalem home after it was stormed by Israeli occupation forces on Tuesday morning.
An 83-year-old member of the family who uses a wheelchair was carried out of the house.
Jewish settlers have taken over the residence, as they have occupied several others in the city’s Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood.
The Shamasneh family had lived in the home for more than half a century. It is the first such eviction since 2009 involving a property that was allegedly owned by Jews before the mass expulsion of Palestinians from the western side of the city in 1948.
Israeli law allows Jews to reclaim properties they were forced to abandon after the 1948 war. The Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood and the rest of East Jerusalem were under Jordanian control after the 1948 war, until Israel occupied it in 1967.
By contrast, Israel prohibits Palestinian refugees from returning to the hundreds of villages and cities from which they were expelled before, during and after the declaration of the state in 1948. Many Palestinian villages were systematically destroyed by the Israeli army shortly thereafter.
Among the displaced are tens of thousands of Jerusalem refugees.
West Jerusalem contains thousands of properties taken from ethnically cleansed Palestinian families, to which Israel grants the rightful owners no possibility of return.
The Shamasneh family had rented the home from the Jordanian government until 1967, and then from the Israeli government, which refused to renew their lease in 2009, stating that Jewish heirs had made a claim to the property.
Legal proceedings to evict the family began after a right-wing settler group sought out an individual who they say is the heir to the original owners of the property.
The Shamasneh family fought the eviction in court up until being forced from their home on Tuesday.
Several other Palestinian families in the neighborhood are also waging court battles against eviction as settlers claim ownership of their homes.
The Shamasneh family was evicted despite being visited by diplomats from seven European countries last month.
In August, EU diplomats issued a statement gently urging Israel to “reconsider” the eviction.
But in light of the EU’s constant demonstrations of unconditional support for Israel in practically every other respect, such typically timid European gestures were never likely to be a deterrent.
Three Palestinian families evicted in East Jerusalem in 2009 received high-profile attention and international support from figures such as former US President Jimmy Carter and then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Some are attributing the renewed eviction efforts to the election of US President Donald Trump.
Pro-settlement Trump envoy
Advocates for the Shamasneh family told the Israeli daily Haaretz that “Israel would not come under diplomatic pressure from the United States to halt the eviction.”
Trump’s envoy to Israel, David Friedman, recently referred to Israel’s “alleged occupation” in an interview with the right-wing Jerusalem Post.
Palestinians and human rights observers have long warned that Israel’s measures in Jerusalem are an attempt to erase Palestinian life in the city, as it has in the area of the historic Ibrahimi mosque in Hebron, where an American Jewish settler massacred Palestinian worshippers in 1994.
On Sunday, Israel’s high court froze an order for the removal of settlers who took over a Palestinian home in Hebron in July, allowing them to remain there until a court ruling is made.
The building, owned by the Abu Rajab family, has been the subject of a lengthy legal battle, with settlers claiming they purchased the building from its Palestinian owners.
The Abu Rajab family asserts that the documents purporting Israeli ownership were forged – a common practice by settlers.