U.S., EU Protest Eviction of Jerusalem Arab Families

NGO says evictions of Palestinian families part of wider plan to increase Israeli hegemony in Jerusalem.

The United States and the European Union issued an official protest to the Israeli Foreign Ministry Monday following a ruling by the High Court of Justice Sunday that two Palestinian families living in East Jerusalem must evacuate their homes in the Sheikh Jarah neighborhood within two months.

The court ruled in response to a petition by the settlers' association Nahalat Shimon against the Iwa and Hanun families, who denied the courts claims that their homes interfere with a proposed Israeli building plan in the neighborhood.

The Iwa and Hanun families are two of 27 families living in a complex that includes 28 residential buildings, of which at least 5 currently house Israelis. Israeli authorities maintain that the Palestinian tenants lost their right to live in the homes after they did not pay their rent, a claim the tenants refute.

According to a report compiled by the NGO "Ir Amim", the legal campaign waged by Nahalat Shimon is part of a wider plan to evict the Palestinian families in the neighborhood in order to level their homes to build a new Jewish neighborhood called "Shimon Hatzadik."

Ir Amim says the plan is also part of an overall process meant to create Israeli hegemony over the area around the Old City, a process which includes the planned construction of nine national parks, pathways and archaeological sites.