Israel’s high court has proposed measures to forcibly evict all the residents of an occupied Arab neighborhood in Jerusalem, proposing a year-long “voluntary evacuation,” which the residents reject.
Arab families in Sheikh Jarrah had challenged a government eviction and the authorities wanted to destroy the structures occupied in the historic neighborhood, leading to repeated court cases that include the Israeli supreme court system, Haaretz reported.
Justice Yaakov Shaked proposed “Voluntary Evacuation” in a judgment delivered on Tuesday.
He proposes that the buildings could be deconstructed and moved elsewhere, adding that it may require two or three years to move them.
Eviction would be carried out after such an effective notice has been issued. Shaked added that the withdrawal of families from Sheikh Jarrah is meant to make way for government development projects, according to the Jerusalem Post.
Shaked’s proposal comes a day after Israel approved the demolition of hundreds of Palestinian structures and lands in the West Bank. The money to build new homes for Palestinians are slated to come from U.S. tax payers through the foreign aid budget.
The newspaper cited an explanatory note published Thursday by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), stating, “During the January 2019 visit, US officials met with Israeli officials about $28 million in USAID pledges on behalf of existing community projects in Palestine to protect and strengthen the rights of Palestinian families whose property has been confiscated, including through demarcation of legal boundaries for redevelopment.”
The note explained that because many projects in the West Bank are partly funded through foreign aid, the Jewish state considers “as-is” funding as contracts to relocate Palestinian structures.
The statement did not elaborate on the value of the funding that would be utilized to move the properties, but it implied the amount could exceed $28 million.
It said the United States is encouraged by “the prospect of planning and redevelopment projects in Palestinian areas that will construct structures to protect Palestinian communities from demolition and provide modern housing for Palestinian families.”
Palestinians accuse Israel of evicting, bulldozing and stealing their properties, including in Sheikh Jarrah.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said that demolitions only function to demolish Palestinian homes and businesses that “finance terrorism.”
A top Israeli rabbinical court is attempting to oversee the occupation of territories occupied in 1967 by passing a landmark ruling to open the lands to Jewish development projects and demolish any construction made by Palestinian homeowners, with the explicit stipulation that no Palestinian be permitted to return.
The civil division of the Israel High Court has rejected this ruling, determining that a law should be passed to legalize such building.
The United Nations warned the Israeli government of grave consequences of this decision, citing that such an order would breach international law.
The Israeli embassy in Washington responded to the ruling, saying, “Unequivocally, this will strengthen Israel’s self-defense policy against Hamas and other terror organizations, or else the terrorists’ actions will lead to the elimination of the Jewish state.”
The ruling was made by a panel of three judges, but the group must clear its dissent before it is officially published.
The three judges were Shirley Otria, Yosef Romano and Zvi Turgeman.
Turgeman and Romano served for years in the Israeli military. Otria is considered a pro-Israel centrist who once was a candidate for the presidency of Israel and a candidate for the Israeli Knesset.
Fox News’ Matthew Dean contributed to this report.