Read caption Tensions erupt between Palestinian residents of Sheikh Jarrah and Israeli forces a few days before an expected eviction order again four Palestinian families in favor of Israeli settlers, Jerusalem. Photo: Ahmad Al-Bazz/NRC.

Israel / Palestine: NRC urges parties to the conflict to avoid further escalation and prevent loss of life

Published 11. May 2021
Statement by NRC Secretary General Jan Egeland on the escalation of hostilities between Israel and Palestine:

“Once again civilians are bearing the brunt of a dramatic escalation in hostilities. The fear and suffering among civilians is felt from families facing expulsion from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah, to children in Gaza under relentless air strikes, and families in Israel under indiscriminate rocket attacks.”

“Palestinian and Israeli children always pay the heaviest price in these outbreaks of violence, leaving them not only physically scarred but also emotionally damaged. We call on all parties to the conflict to stop the provocations and to ensure that civilians are protected.  We urge the international community to use all its influence to end violations of international law, including the forced evictions in Sheikh Jarrah, and to get all parties, Israeli and Palestinian alike, to step back and prevent suffering and loss of life.”

“This latest violence also shows that the prolonged conflict and occupation are unsustainable. There can be no peace and security as long as there are systemic injustices, be it in the form of forced evictions, a siege on two million people or military repression of everyday life.”

Notes to Editors:
  • NRC has spokespeople available for interviews.
  • Photos and B-roll can be downloaded for free use and distribution from the links.
  • NRC’s information, counselling and legal assistance provides legal support to Palestinians in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, who face demolitions, evictions, confiscations or seizures of their properties.
  • Israel’s obligations under international humanitarian and human rights law include prohibitions against changing the laws and customs in occupied territory, transferring populations in and out of occupied territory, destroying private property and forcible transfer, and discriminating on national, racial or ethnic grounds.
  • OCHA estimates that some 218 Palestinian households in East Jerusalem have eviction cases against them, most of which were initiated by settler organisations, placing some 970 people, including 424 children, at risk of displacement. Since 2017, 15 families, comprising 62 people, have been evicted from their homes in Jerusalem’s Old City and the neighbourhoods of Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan.
  • So far this year, 44 demolitions, evictions, confiscations or seizures of Palestinian properties have taken place, including two in Sheikh Jarrah, according to OCHA’s demolition database. Nearly 21 per cent of all demolitions, evictions, confiscations or seizures of Palestinian properties in 2020 took place in East Jerusalem.
  • Around 330,000 Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem face discriminatory Israeli planning and zoning policies that have resulted in a lack of infrastructure and a severe housing shortage.
  • Only 13 per cent of East Jerusalem is covered by an approved planning scheme for Palestinians, a precondition for issuing building permits, and most of these areas are already built up. As such, at least a third of all Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem lack an Israeli-issued building permit, potentially placing over 100,000 residents at risk of displacement.
  • In many cases in East Jerusalem, the forced eviction of Palestinians occurs within the context of Israeli settlement construction and expansion.
  • Israel has expropriated 35 per cent of East Jerusalem for Israeli settlements.