The armed wing of Hamas has issued a warning to Israel over its attacks against Palestinian residents in occupied East Jerusalem, saying Israel will pay a “heavy price” for its actions.
“The Qassam Brigades will not stand idle in the face of attacks on the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood”, Mohammed Deif, the brigade’s commander, said in a written statement on Tuesday night. “They will pay a heavy price if the aggression against our people in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood does not stop immediately”, he said, adding they are closely following the developments.
Deif, who has been on Israel’s wanted list for years, praised the “steadfast people” in Sheikh Jarrah, who are facing imminent forced displacement from their homes. The neighborhood was raided by Israeli forces for the second night on Tuesday. The residents and solidarity protesters were sprayed and were physically assaulted.
Several Palestinians were arrested, including Tala Obeid, Omar al-Khatib and Mahmoud Nabil al-Kurd, whose families face displacement from their homes in occupied East Jerusalem. Al-Kurd along with another Palestinian was released on Wednesday morning, but the detention of al-Khatib, a local activist, has been extended. Mustafa Barghouti, the head of the Palestinian National Initiative party, told a news agency that what is happening in Sheikh Jarrah is a “process of ethnic cleansing”.
“This is a war crime against the population of Jerusalem”, he said, speaking from the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah. “This act of ethnic cleansing is nothing but a reflection on the racist policies that Israel is following and the system of apartheid that is consolidated not only in Jerusalem but in the occupied Palestinian territories in general”. He called on the international community to interfere and pressure Israel from ending its “systematic approach” of eliminating the Palestinian presence from the city.
On Sunday, the Jerusalem District Court stated that at least six families must evacuate their homes in Sheikh Jarrah by last Sunday, and further said that seven other families should leave their homes by August 1.