After 45 years of historic dispossession, Palestinians are facing intensified Israeli efforts to cleanse them from their lands.
Sixteen Palestinian families in East Jerusalem are in danger of being forcibly evicted from their homes on May 2 as part of “an alarming pattern to change the demography of the city,” according to a recent report by the U.N. Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian Territory, occupied since 1967. If the evictions go forward as planned, these families will have nowhere to go.
In recent months, demolitions and seizures of Palestinian structures in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, have intensified significantly. The U.N. Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process reported on March 25 that, since December, 325 Palestinian-owned structures had been “demolished or seized by Israeli authorities or demolished by their owners to avoid heavy Israeli demolition fees. These actions resulted in the displacement of 465 people, including 253 children and 105 women.”
The decades-old practice of Israeli demolition and seizure of Palestinian homes represents a flagrant violation of international law, specifically Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which prohibits the forcible transfer of protected populations by an occupying power.
Christians around the world are speaking out against Israel’s troubling plans for the forcible removal of these East Jerusalem families, totaling 37 households of around 195 Palestinians. Kairos Palestine, a Palestinian Christian ecumenical movement, issued an urgent call to the global Christian community on March 27: “Your sisters and brothers in Palestine implore you to resist the State of Israel’s impending eviction of 15 families from their homes in the Israeli occupied territory of East Jerusalem. … [We urge you to] write to your governments, insisting that they intervene to stop this action on the basis of human dignity and international law.”
As Churches for Middle East Peace argued in a recent alert, “The United States Government must not be silent as Palestinians in East Jerusalem face continued threats of demolition. Each demolition threatens the Palestinian presence in East Jerusalem and moves us further away from a just and lasting end to the conflict in Israel-Palestine.”
Contact your representative today! Urge Congress to speak out against the illegal removal of 16 East Jerusalem families from their homes scheduled for May 2, and call upon the Biden Administration to do the same.
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