Settlers forcibly evict Palestinian families from Silwan homes
At least nine Palestinians were left homeless on Monday after settlers escorted by Israeli security personnel forcibly evicted them from their homes in the Silwan neighborhood of East Jerusalem.
The Silwan-based Wadi Hilweh Information Center said a large group of Israeli border police and officers escorted staff from the far-right Israeli Ateret Cohanim organization to the Batn al-Hawa area of the neighborhood.
Israeli forces then surrounded two Palestinian houses belonging to the Abu Nab family before ransacking the property and evicting the families.
Helicopters were seen in the area, together with Israeli police dogs, during the eviction.
Israeli forces assaulted Abdullah Abu Nab with pepper spray during the eviction, which left four members of his family homeless. Five members of Sabri Abu Nab's family were also displaced by the eviction.
Zuheri al-Rajabi, a local Batan al-Hawa committee member, told Ma'an that Ateret Cohanim -- a group which works for a Jewish majority in the Old City and surrounding Palestinian neighborhoods -- claimed the Abu Nab properties were owned by the organization pre-1948.
The properties used to house a Jewish synagogue, it claimed, with the group consolidating legal action in 2002 to restore the building after arguing that the Abu Nab family had implemented illegal construction work on the homes.
The construction changes nullified the family's status as a protected leaseholder, the group said.
Israeli courts have issued several eviction orders against the families.
The Wadi Hilweh group says the eviction of the Abu Nab family is part of a larger plan to take over 5,200 square meters of land in the Batan al-Hawa area, which Ateret Cohanim claims belong the Jewish Yemenite families.
The area houses 80 Palestinian families in over 30 apartments.
On Aug. 27, up to 60 settlers moved into a building in Silwan which belonged to a member of the Sarhan family.
Peace Now said that over the past year settlers have doubled their presence in the Batan al-Hawa area of Silwan, with the August overnight takeover expanding the settlement from 10 to 35 Jewish families.
Around 500 settlers live in Silwan among a population of 45,000 Palestinians, one of mainly enclaves in the heart of Palestinian neighborhoods surrounding the Old City, such as Ras al-Amud, al-Tur, Abu Dis, and Sheikh Jarrah.
Illegal settlements in East Jerusalem are designed to prevent any division of the city -- as is called for in the two state solution -- and to create a Jewish majority population in the city.
East Jerusalem is considered occupied territory under international law.
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