Israel could evict over 70 Palestinians from a contested East Jerusalem neighborhood. Progressive lawmakers have noticed.


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(JTA) — Several progressive Democratic elected leaders condemned Israel over the weekend for its plans to evict Palestinian residents from homes in Sheikh Jarrah, a neighborhood in East Jerusalem that is claimed by both Jewish Israeli settlers and Palestinians.

The area, where more than 70 Palestinian residents face eviction threats pending a Supreme Court deliberation, has been the site of protests and violent clashes with Israeli police in recent days.

“The forced removal of long-time Palestinian residents in Sheikh Jarrah is abhorrent and unacceptable. The Administration should make clear to the Israeli government that these evictions are illegal and must stop immediately,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren said in a tweet Saturday.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the representative from New York, also weighed in.

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“We stand in solidarity with the Palestinian residents of Sheikh Jarrah in East Jerusalem. Israeli forces are forcing families from their homes during Ramadan and inflicting violence. It is inhumane and the US must show leadership in safeguarding the human rights of Palestinians,” she said in a tweet Saturday.

Israel’s Supreme Court was set to meet Monday to review the Palestinian residents’ appeal, but in the wake of the unrest, Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit postponed the hearing for two weeks on Sunday.

The property under dispute was owned by a Jewish organization before 1948 until it was captured by Jordan in Israel’s War of Independence. The land was taken back by Israel during the 1967 war, and a law was passed in 1970 allowing Israeli Jews to reclaim property in East Jerusalem that was held before the 1948 war. The property has been the subject of a legal battle ever since.

“The United States must speak out strongly against the violence by government-allied Israeli extremists in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, and make clear that the evictions of Palestinian families must not go forward,” Bernie Sanders, senator from Vermont, said in a tweet Saturday.

The three progressives were joined by fellow Democratic Sen. Chris Van Hollen from Maryland.

“As this makes clear, evictions of families in East Jerusalem would violate international law. If the Biden Administration puts the rule of law and human rights at the heart of its foreign policy, this is not a moment for tepid statements,” he said in a tweet.

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