Jerusalem24 – Last night Israeli forces began confiscating five Dunums of land in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in occupied East Jerusalem, claiming it for “public benefit.”
Kamal Obeidat, one of the owners of the land said, “the occupation authorities pressured the tenants on the land to vacate it after an Israeli supreme court decision on the 27th of October to leave the land for public use.”
Obeidat pointed out that the Israeli authorities pressured the tenants through exorbitant fines. As such, the tenants last night began emptying the land of buses, as it was used as a bus station.
The land belonged to four families: the Obeidat, Jarallah, Odeh and Mansour.
Obeidat said that, “as families we reject this and reject any form of compensation for vacating the lands. However, at the same time we refuse to transform the land for the benefit of Israeli settlers.”
He added that, “the land falls in a sensitive location at the entrance leading to homes the Israeli occupation wants to evict it’s owners for the settlers. Right next to it is the location the Israelis calls Sim’on Al-Siddiq.”
The Israeli courts have been looking into the case of this land for more than 20 years, pushing expensive fines in the tens of thousands of shekels on its owners.
The Israeli authorities claim that the land is being confiscated for the sake of creating a park for the nearby hotel and to increase the rate of construction in it. However, until now no progress has been made towards constructing the hotel.
Many Jerusalemites are worried with what could happen to the confiscated lands after doubting Israel’s intentions towards it. Obeidat says, “for the past 20 years we have managed to keep the land. But honestly, we are afraid of what might be coming in the future.”