JERUSALEM (Ma’an) -- Large numbers of Israeli police officers deployed in the East Jerusalem town of Silwan on Sunday morning, with residents worried that the move came ahead of a police evacuation of the home of Abdullah Abu Nab, which settlers have claimed belongs to Jewish groups.
Children in the mostly Arab neighborhood threw stones but no major clashes were reported.
Director of Wadi Hilwa Information Center Jawad Siyam said the beefed-up police presence followed several detentions overnight, at least half a dozen young men were taken into Israeli custody, he said.
Media reports suggested that both the Abu Nab home and an illegal settler home would be evacuated on the same day.
As police remained stationed in the area, a court battle continued as residents from an illegal settler home in the neighborhood petitioned to overturn a decision to evict them from Beit Yonatan, built without a permit and occupied by the settler group Ateret Cohanim in 2003.
By Sunday afternoon the court rejected a settler appeal, which sought to overturn an order by the Israel's Attorney General that municipal officials carry out earlier court orders demanding the house be evacuated and sealed.
A statement by Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat published in the Israeli news site Ynet hinted at a double eviction, saying that if the settler organization attempting to take over the Abu Nab home insists on evicting the family, he will "make sure that the residents of Beit Yehonatan [sic] are evicted."
The mayor issued a statement Sunday afternoon, saying that until permanent zoning plans for areas of East Jerusalem including Silwan were approved by the Israeli government, "the Municipality of Jerusalem will implement the rule of law evenly, without regard to race, religion, gender, national identity, or political leaning, to every illegal building with court orders against it."
Member of the local committee to defend Silwan's Al-Bustan neighborhood Fakhri Abu Diab, said there were no developments in the case of the Abu Nab family, as Israeli media speculated that the eviction about to take place was of an illegal settler home in the same area.
"It was not yet clear whether police were on hand to evacuate Palestinian homes or carry out long-waited eviction order against apartment building constructed illegally by settlers," Israel's Haaretz newspaper said in a morning report.
In a Sunday afternoon update, Haaretz wrote, "It now appears that at the same time that Jewish occupants are evicted from Beit Yonatan, police intend also to evict dozens of Palestinians from a nearby building so that it can be turned over to Jews."