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Israeli settlers occupy Palestinian-owned properties in Silwan

Feb. 10, 2017 7:12 P.M. (Updated: Feb. 13, 2017 10:08 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli settlers occupied a room and an adjacent house of a 76-year-old Palestinian in the Wadi Hilweh area of the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan on Thursday evening.

The elderly man’s son Khaldun Salah, who lives in the house with his father, told Ma’an that settlers also prevented him from using the house’s courtyard, the only path to enter and exit the house.

The Silwan-based watchdog Wadi Hilweh Information Center said that Israeli settlers, under the protection of Israeli police, occupied a room, a warehouse, and a toilet in the area.

The group added that the settlers had changed the locks on the doors and erected a fence.

The room occupied by the settlers was reported to measure 30 square meters, while the courtyard measures 50 square meters, both belonging to Arif al-Qarain. He also owns part of the warehouse, measuring 200 square meters.

Local Palestinian residents managed to force the settlers out from 150 square meters of the warehouse. However, they remained in the section belonging to al-Qarain.

Salah was quoted by the center as saying that his family was using the room that the settlers occupied, but that the owner, al-Qarain, evacuated the family through a court order two years prior. Since then, the room has remained unused.

East Jerusalem is internationally recognized as Palestinian territory, but Israel occupied it in 1967 and later annexed it in a move never considered legitimate by the international community.

Palestinians charge that the forceful eviction of Palestinian families is part of a larger strategy to "Judaize" Jerusalem and deny Palestinians the right to live in the holy city.

More than 500,000 Israeli settlers live in settlements across the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, in contravention of international law.
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