The UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East peace process urged Israel to cease demolitions and evictions, in line with its obligations under international humanitarian law. “The latest developments related to the eviction of Palestinian refugee families in Sheikh Jarrah and other neighborhoods in occupied East Jerusalem are very worrying,” Tor Wennesland said in a statement on Thursday. Twenty-two Palestinians were wounded in overnight clashes with Israeli police in occupied East Jerusalem, the Red Crescent said Thursday, as tensions flared over a controversial land rights case.
The legal case centers on the homes of four Palestinian families in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood near Jerusalem’s walled Old City on land claimed by Jews.
He also said he was “deeply concerned” by the surge in tensions and violence in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem, since the start of the Muslim month of Ramadan.
“In the past few days alone, two Palestinians, including a woman and a child, were killed in separate incidents, by Israeli Security Forces (ISF) in the context of clashes or attacks”, said Wennesland.
He also said an Israeli was killed by a Palestinian in a drive-by shooting, and several others were injured.
“I reiterate that the ISF must exercise maximum restraint and use lethal force only when strictly unavoidable in order to protect life”, he added.
Tensions are high over a long-running legal case over the homes of four Palestinian families on land claimed by Jews, which is due to go before the Supreme Court on Monday.
Colville demanded Israel halt actions that “further contribute to a coercive environment or lead to a risk of forcible transfer”.
“We further call on Israel to respect freedom of expression on assembly, including with those who are protesting against the evictions, and to exercise maximum restraint in the use of force”, he said.
Meanwhile, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK urged Israel to halt settlement-building in the occupied West Bank.
“We urge the government of Israel to reverse its decision to advance the construction of 540 settlement units in the Har Homa E area of the occupied West Bank, and to cease its policy of settlement expansion across the occupied Palestinian Territories”, the European nations said in a joint statement.