UNRWA chief urges Israel to cancel Jerusalem evictions

UNRWA chief urges Israel to cancel Jerusalem evictions

Philippe Lazzarini visits families threatened with eviction in Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood

By Abdelraouf Arna'out

JERUSALEM (AA) – UNRWA Commissioner-General Philippe Lazzarini on Wednesday called on Israel to halt evictions of Palestinian families in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in occupied East Jerusalem.

"UNRWA keeps calling on the Israeli authorities to cancel the evictions," Lazzarini told a press conference after a visit to Palestinian families threatened with eviction in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood.

Lazzarini said those families are "protected under international law," adding that his visit aimed to show support to Palestinian families in Sheikh Jarrah.

The UNRWA chief described a “tragic situation” he witnessed during his visit to the neighborhood on Wednesday. “I saw a house where a settler seized half of it. This house is divided between a Palestinian family and settlers,” he said.

Lazzarini continued, “The forced eviction of families from their homes is contrary to international law."

Tension escalated across the Palestinian territories since mid-April over an Israeli court verdict to evict eight Palestinian families from their homes in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in favor of settlement groups.

Israeli authorities, however, postponed giving a final decision on the eviction orders till December under Palestinian mass protests, including an 11-day fighting between Israel and Palestinian resistance groups in Gaza, and international pressure.

*Ahmed Asmar contributed to this report from Ankara

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