BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- PLO official Saeb Erekat on Sunday called on the international community to prevent the imminent eviction of a Palestinian family from their home in East Jerusalem.
An Israeli court has ordered the Shamasneh family to leave their Sheikh Jarrah home by Dec. 31. The family lost an appeal against the ruling earlier this month.
"The Israeli policy of home evictions is a tool being used to push Palestinian Christians and Muslims outside their capital," Erekat said.
Israel captured East Jerusalem from Jordanian control in a 1967 war and later annexed it, a move never recognized internationally.
Homes owned by Jews before the 1948 war to establish Israel were reverted to their original owners by Israeli law after 1967. Palestinian-owned homes lost in 1948 were not restored.
Erekat said the eviction of Palestinians from East Jerusalem "are nothing short of War Crimes under international law, and so the international community must recognize and acknowledge this."
"The family – made up of 10 members including two elderly and three children, are victims of the cruel behavior of the Israeli occupation aimed at ethnically cleansing the city of its Palestinian inhabitants."
Settlement watch director at Israel's Peace Now group Hagit Ofran said a settler group aims to use the Shamasneh family home to establish a new settlement in the Palestinian neighborhood, endangering the two state solution.