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Israel Releases Palestinians Held After Eviction

Israel Releases Palestinians Held After Eviction

Friday, 21 January, 2022 - 08:45
An Israeli border policeman scuffles with a Palestinian protester during clashes in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem May 3, 2021. REUTERS/Ammar Awad

Five members of a Palestinian family arrested after Israeli police demolished their house in east Jerusalem have been released, their lawyer told AFP on Thursday.


The arrest of several members of the Salhiya family came as they were evicted from their house in the sensitive neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah by Israeli authorities before dawn on Wednesday.


Walid Abu Tayeh, the family's lawyer, confirmed "the release of the five people detained since Wednesday, including Mahmud Salhiya and his sons".


Police had accused several Salhiya family members of "violating a court order" and public disturbance.


Abu Tayeh said the release of the five on Thursday was conditional on payment of a 1,000 Israeli shekel ($320) fine, and that the group was forbidden from entering Sheikh Jarrah for one month.


The looming eviction of other Palestinian families from Sheikh Jarrah in May last year partly fuelled an 11-day war between Israel and armed Palestinian factions in Gaza.


In those cases, Palestinians risked having to surrender plots of land to Jewish settlers who had mounted legal claims to the land.


But Jerusalem authorities have stressed the Salhiya family eviction is a different case and that the city intends to build a special needs school on the land, benefitting Arab residents of east Jerusalem.


The city has said it purchased the land from previous Arab owners and that the Salhiya's had lived there illegally for years, but failed to agree to a compromise on an eviction order first issued in 2017.


Israel captured east Jerusalem in the 1967 Six-Day War and later annexed it, in a move not recognized by the most of the international community.


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