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Evicted families spend first night outdoors

July 30, 2010 5:59 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 1, 2010 8:54 A.M.)
Jerusalem – Ma’an – Nine Palestinian families spent their first night in the open air on Thursday, after being forced out of their homes by Israeli settlers before sunrise the same morning.

Sami Qeresh head of a household of six dependents, said women and children "spent a night in the open air waiting for Israeli forces to carry out their decision" over documents allegedly showing Jewish ownership of the eleven-apartment building near the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem's Old City.

On Thursday, police officials said officers were examining the documents presented by two Jewish families who evicted the Qeresh families from their home. A police spokesman said Friday that he had "no idea whatsoever" as to how long it would take police to verify the papers.

If police decide the documents are authentic, the matter will be transferred to court, officials explained shortly after the eviction.

Ala’ Qeresh told Ma'an that the family filed a petition with the Israeli court demanding the immediate evacuation of the settlers from the home and expected the hearing to be held on Sunday.

UN bodies call for return of family to home

The UN Relief and Works Agency condemned the takeover of the home, which made nine families homeless.

UNRWA, whose mandate is to protect and assist Palestinian refugees, noted that two of the families made homeless are registered refugees. In a statement issued Friday, the UN office stressed the importance of protecting these families “to maintain the relative stability in this volatile area of the West Bank.”

Fatah official Demitri Delani said at the time of the eviction that many of the women and children refused to be evicted and remained in their homes with barricaded doors.

By noon, there were no Palestinians left in the home, Israeli National Police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld said.

The UN special envoy to the Middle East peace process, Robert Serry, has also condemned the incident, which he said was an act of provocation “at a critical time in the international community’s efforts to move the peace process forward.”

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