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Monday, August 3, 2009
Two Palestinian families who have been living in East Jerusalem since 1956, were evicted from their homes on Sunday after an Israeli court rejected their appeal filed against the eviction. The eviction comes after increasing international pressure on Israel to stop settlement activity and end home evictions.
Israeli security forces entered the homes at 6:00 a.m. (local time) and forcibly removed the family and international activists who were also living in the homes. At least 19 children were among those removed. Al Jazeera reports that a family was beaten with batons as they tried to get back into their house. JTA reports that Jewish families moved into the homes shortly after the Palestinian families were evicted.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has laid biblical claim to the areas of East Jerusalem and has stated that Jews have the right to live anywhere in the city. Although Jerusalem is internationally recognized as occupied territory, Israel continues to evict Palestinians and instead build Jewish only apartments in the area, an action which is considered to be illegal under the Fourth Geneva Convention. Israel has plans for 350 new apartment buildings in East Jerusalem. U.N special coordinator for Middle East Peace, Robert Serry, condemned the evictions as "totally unacceptable".
The international community, including the United States, has called on Israel to stop settlement activity and allow for the creation of a Palestinian state.