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Statement signed by unions and civil society organisations calls on British Government to take action over Israel’s ethnic cleansing of neighbourhoods in occupied East Jerusalem

  • Statement calls on British Government, public bodies and civil society to recognise the laws of Israel to be inherently discriminatory
  • Signatories include NEU, Unite the Union, RMT, GMB, UCU, PCS and Jews for Justice for Palestinians
  • Comes as over 1,500 Palestinians face threat of home demolitions in occupied East Jerusalem

A statement signed by 19 British unions and civil society organisations has been released today condemning Israel’s illegal eviction of Palestinian families and their replacement with Jewish settlers. The signatories refer to Israel’s “demographic manipulation and ethnic cleansing,” citing the example of Sheikh Jarrah. A total of 67 people from three families in Sheikh Jarrah were evicted in 2009, and signatories highlight their concern for four more families which are now facing eviction in the coming days – an act which would risk their Jerusalem residency rights and render them homeless.

Ben Jamal, Director of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign said: “These evictions are part of a broader range of policies and laws employed by Israel to further ethnically cleanse Palestinians from Jerusalem. More and more human rights groups are rightly identifying these policies of racial domination and oppression over the Palestinian people as amounting to the crime of apartheid. We call on the British Government to demand an end to current proceedings to evict these families, and more broadly to begin taking meaningful action to hold Israel accountable for all its actions which contribute to the crime of apartheid.”

Full Statement: Stop the ethnic cleansing of Jerusalem. Save Sheikh Jarrah.

We, the undersigned, are deeply concerned by Israel’s ongoing ethnic cleansing of neighbourhoods in occupied East Jerusalem. The use of illegal and quasi legal means to evict Palestinian families from their homes, in order to replace them with Jewish settlers, is a clear example of demographic manipulation and ethnic cleansing.

Over 1,500 Palestinians from neighbourhoods in Jerusalem are facing the threat of forced displacement and home demolitions by Israeli authorities. Children make up a large percentage of the families threatened with homelessness.

The neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah is just one of those affected. In 1956, Jordan made an agreement with the UNRWA to build houses in Sheikh Jarrah for 28 families who had been dispossessed of their homes in various parts of historic Palestine by Israel. Those families gave up their refugee rations cards on the understanding that the new homes would be given to them and registered in their names.

In 1967, Israel illegally annexed all of East Jerusalem, including Sheikh Jarrah, and shortly afterwards passed the Legal and Administrative Matters Law. Like the Absentees’ Property Law, this facilitates the transfer of property from Palestinians to Jewish Israelis through quasi legal means.

Backed by the state and its discriminatory laws, settler groups have claimed ownership of the land in Sheikh Jarrah and implemented a creeping takeover of Palestinian homes, aided and abetted by Israeli courts and the security forces. Three families, totalling 67 people, were forcibly evicted from Sheikh Jarrah in 2009. The Israeli District Court recently ordered four more families to leave their homes or face eviction in the coming days. Once evicted, those families face additional legal costs and the prospect of having their Jerusalem residency rights revoked.

We call on the British Government, public bodies, and civil society, to hold Israel accountable and take meaningful action to prevent the further ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from Jerusalem. This includes recognising the laws of Israel to be inherently discriminatory and used to maintain Jewish Israeli dominance over Palestinians.

Signed by:

  1. Unite the Union
  2. National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT)
  3. GMB Union
  4. National Education Union (NEU)
  5. Bakers, Food and Allied Workers’ Union (BFAWU)
  6. Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS)
  7. Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC)
  8. War on Want
  9. University and College Union (UCU
  10. Friends of Al Aqsa
  11. Amos Trust
  12. Sabeel-Kairos
  13. Labour & Palestine
  14. Arab Labour Group
  15. Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions UK (ICAHD)
  16. Jews For Justice For Palestinians (JFJFP)
  17. Stop the War Coalition
  18. British Committee for Universities of Palestine (BRICUP)
  19. University and College Union Scotland (UCU Scotland)