This morning, a group of settlers, escorted by police, moved into an apartment in the Palestinian neighborhood of A-Tur in East Jerusalem. The settlers claim that they bought the apartment from its Palestinian owners legally. The apartment is on the 2nd floor of a three story building with Palestinian families living in the apartments above and below.
The building where the apartment is located is next to what the settlers call “Beit Hachoshen”, a large building that was taken over by settlers in 2006 and today’s developments point to an expansion of this settlement. This building houses residences and is used for tourist activities by the settlers. It is well known to all in the area of the Old City as the building with the enormous Israeli flag flying on its roof.
When the Settlers entered the house in 2006, they also entered the apartment in question. The Palestinians residents of the apartment appealed to the courts claiming that the settlers could not prove legal ownership. The judge ruled in favor of the Palestinians and admonished the Police for escorting the settlers without checking for ownership papers. The settlers moved out and the apartment has been left empty throughout subsequent court proceedings. 10 days ago, the court ruled in favor of the settlers.
This is the second incident in two days of settlers taking over Palestinian property. Yesterday, a Palestinian family was kicked out of home following the court decision in favor of the settlers. The police escort that the settlers received in both cases shows unquestionable political intervention in both situations.
While the entire world is watching Prime Minister Netanyahu and waiting to see if the freeze will be re-enacted, he is assisting the settlers. It is very hard to trust Netanyahu and his promises for peace talks when he is deliberately creating provocations in the heart of the Palestinian neighborhoods of East Jerusalem, while everybody knows that a peace agreement will only be possible if those Palestinian neighborhoods are part of the Palestinian state.