The Cradle
Israel seeks to annex 800 homes in occupied East Jerusalem
Yet another Palestinian neighborhood faces annexation and forced expulsion of its Palestinian residents in exchange for Jewish-only housing
By News Desk - March 07 2022
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Jabal Al-Mukaber, Palestine (Photo credit: Ammar Awad/Reuters)

The Jerusalem Municipality has declared its intention to annex 800 Palestinian homes in the neighborhood of Jabal al-Mukaber, as reported by Al-Resalah on 6 March.

Israeli officials reportedly plan to raze the homes to build a commercial center and 500 settlement units for Jewish residents, according to a statement by Tariq Owaisat, a member of Follow-up Committee in Jabal al-Mukaber.

The annexation is designed to squeeze Palestinian residents out of the neighborhood and prevent urban expansion of existing homes, forcing many young people to other regions in search of housing.

The residents of Jabal al-Mukaber, however, have vowed to resist this forced annexation plan, declaring they will not allow their homes to be stolen without a fight.

Owaisat said that Palestinians in Jerusalem are steadfast and will not allow a repeat of the 1948 Nakba or the 1967 Naksa.

He stated that the Municipality of Jerusalem is a place for “gangsters under the protection of the Israeli government.”

One of their initial acts of resistance against the plan for annexation was an Islamic Friday congregational prayer at the town’s sports stadium, with a sermon from Sheikh Ekrima Sabri, the Grand Imam of the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

Sheikh Sabri exclaimed that “the land of Jabal al-Mukaber is entirely Arab and Palestinian owned, and all Arabs and Muslims must protect it.”

Jabal al-Mukaber is not the only Palestinian neighborhood in East Jerusalem under threat of annexation and expulsion.

Sheikh Jarrah has made headlines in recent months with residents loudly voicing their opposition to a similar forced expulsion plan.

On 1 March, the Israeli Supreme Court delayed eviction orders of many Palestinian families in Sheikh Jarrah, on condition they pay an annual fee of 2,400 shekels ($740) to Israeli settlers who have their sights set on forcibly taking their land.

The annexation of Sheikh Jarrah is dependent on legal land arrangements that could take years before any eviction can officially occur.

However, this has not stopped violent actions by Israeli settlers towards the residents of Sheikh Jarrah.

On 2 March, a group of Israeli settlers led by far-right Knesset member Itamar Ben Gvir rallied in Sheikh Jarrah, causing clashes between local residents and the settlers, which in turn led to injuries.