UN chief to Israel: End 'provocative actions' in East Jerusalem
Settlers force Palestinians out of East Jerusalem home after court rejects family's appeal.
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday urged Israel to halt what he called "provocative" actions in East Jerusalem after another Palestinian family was evicted from its home.
"These actions stoke tensions, cause suffering and further undermine trust," said Ban in a statement issued by his spokesperson.
Ban called on Israel to "cease such provocative actions," and to implement its commitments under the Road Map peace plan by freezing all settlement activity, including natural growth; dismantling outposts; and reopening Palestinian institutions in East Jerusalem.
Rioting settlers on Tuesday forced a Palestinian family from the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah out of its home, after the district court denied the residents' appeal to remain on the premises.
Shortly after the verdict was passed dozens of settlers stormed into the house with hired security guards, and demanded that the family vacate immediately.
A violent riot erupted between the settlers and the neighborhood's Palestinian residents, and police were called to disperse the protesters.
A legal battle has raged for some 30 years over the ownership of 28 houses in this neighborhood.
This particular house, built 10 years ago by the al-Kurd family, was unoccupied and locked for eight years by court order pending settlement of a land-ownership dispute.
Police kept members of the family back as a dozen Israeli men removed furniture.
"They can go to Syria, Iraq, Jordan. We are six million and they are billions," said Yehya Gureish, an Arabic-speaking Yemen-born Jew who said his family owned the land and had Ottoman Empire documentation to prove it.
"This land is Israel. We are in Israel. God gave this land to the Jews. The Torah tells us so. You want war? Declare war on God, not on us," he said.
The home takeover was filmed by an activist from the pro-Palestinian International Solidarity Movement, whose video includes some cursing and a brief scuffle, but no violence.
"I am Jerusalemite, a Palestinian. I didn't come from all over the world," said Rifqa al-Kurd, who had the house built 10 years ago for her married daughter.
The Palestinians who currently reside in the area were housed there as refugees by the United Nations after they fled western Jerusalem following the War of Independence in 1948.
During the 1970s, a committee of Sephardic Jews claimed ownership of the land, according to papers which proved that they had purchased it from the Turks before the war.
The committee had been active amongst the Jerusalem Jewish community for several hundred years in ownership claims over land in the area.
The court decided after long deliberation, that the Sephardic committee's claim to ownership is legal, but the Palestinian residents had also received a protected residency status which forced the Jews to keep them on as tenants.
Since then the committee filed several claims stating that the Palestinians had breached the lease with their new landlords, and demanded that they be evacuated from the premises.
Due to these recurring claims, several Palestinian families were evacuated from their homes and replaced by settler families.
The Sheikh Jarrah Palestinian residents said they fear that the settlers are strengthening the pressure to move them all out of town.
Two Palestinian families that were forced to leave their homes last August have been living out of protest in a tent on the town's sidewalks despite municipal pressure to remove the tents.