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Israeli settlers attempt to seize land in Sheikh Jarrah

Aug. 27, 2018 5:05 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 29, 2018 12:24 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- Members of the Custodian of Absentees' Property Department along with Israeli settlers attempted to seize a piece of land in the Palestinian neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah in occupied East Jerusalem, on Monday.

Hashem Badr, member of a local committee, said that members of the Israeli Custodian of Absentees' Property department, under armed protection of Israeli forces, stormed the western part of Sheikh Jarrah and attempted to seize a piece of Palestinian-owned land.

Badr confirmed that the land belongs to Palestinian resident, Abed al-Razzaq al-Sheikh; the land measures about 50 square meters and is located directly in front of his house.

He added that Israeli bulldozers entered the neighborhood and began to raze the land and uproot several planted trees, while Israeli forces surrounded the area and prevented access to it.

Badr stressed that the Custodian of Absentees' Property attempted to claim ownership of the property and attempted to carry out the seizure without an official decision from the Israeli court.

According to Israeli law, Jewish Israelis are permitted to claim ownership over property believed to have been owned by Jews before 1948 during Ottoman or British rule.

However, such a law does not exist for the hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees who were displaced from their lands and homes during and after the establishment of the state of Israel.

Israelis have claimed that Sheikh Jarrah was once the site of a 19th century Jewish community. Many families in the neighborhood have been embroiled in legal disputes for decades, as various Israeli settlers have attempted to claim ownership over their homes.

Some of the properties that had once been owned by Jews -- thousands of whom fled East Jerusalem during the 1948 Arab-Israeli war -- were repurposed by the Jordanian government, who took control over the territory following the war, to house some of the approximately 750,000 Palestinians who were forced from homes that were consumed by the new Israeli state.

When Israel took control over the West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza after the Six-Day War in 1967, the Jordanian-controlled properties were transferred to Israel's general custodian.

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