The Israeli High Court of Justice has announced its decision to temporarily halt the building of homes in Sheikh Jarrah on the Palestinian side, but rejected the parallel request to partially halt new projects in East Jerusalem. The Palestinians immediately rejected the ruling, calling it “a mockery.”
S.B., a Palestinian in Sheikh Jarrah, said she supports the effort to stop the construction of the buildings on the disputed territories, “but what’s the use of halting a construction, unless the occupation keeps building?”
Heated debate followed the announcement, as attorneys representing Israel argued that halting such projects only discourages building in East Jerusalem, while preventing the exact opposite effect in Sheikh Jarrah, where demolitions are also expected.
Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL), joined in opposition of the ruling, demanding that the Israeli government “prioritize” keeping Palestinian homes intact in Sheikh Jarrah, arguing that the decision will only lead to that displacement.
Additionally, Alon Pinkas, the director of the Israel Heritage Foundation, issued a statement slamming the current situation:
“It is shameful to witness Jewish citizens being threatened with property destruction simply because they disagree with the actions of another people. Nothing that happened today is reflective of reality in Arab neighborhoods of East Jerusalem or in our Jewish neighborhoods in Judea and Samaria. “In Sheikh Jarrah, it is true that a few Palestinian families who now live in the same city, who say that they do not wish to move to the new development and leave the neighborhood, have a point. However, stopping the development of the neighborhood will not help them, as they will be displaced in the future. “And it is shameful that our neighbors have not recognized how these accusations are motivated by plain anti-Israel bias and not by any kind of legitimate concern for the neighborhood. “The concerns of the Arab landowners regarding what might be happening to their property over time simply not trump those of the Jewish residents who are there now, and that is an injustice.”
“This act of destruction of Palestinian properties threatens to intensify [the] tension and instability between the two peoples, which are fragile in light of the recent escalation in violence,” said Omer Celik, director of the e-com social media platform.
As a result of its decision, Israeli Construction Minister Yoav Galant announced that 10 Arab homes will be demolished in Sheikh Jarrah, six in Ramat Migron and two in Pisgat Zeev.
“Today, the Israeli Supreme Court made a decision that a few Palestinians in Sheikh Jarrah see as a victory, but they do not have a victory, the [Israeli] government is determined to preserve the status quo. It is more important for us that we preserve the status quo in Sheikh Jarrah than what can be achieved by any court order that will be of no real benefit in the long term,” said Deputy Housing Minister Matan Vilnai.
“We understand that our neighbors are facing an uphill battle. But it is our responsibility to defend their property with any means,” he said.
However, lawyers representing Sheikh Jarrah rejected the move.
The Palestinian media said the decision was a “media-aid of annexation” against Sheikh Jarrah.
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