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Israel accused of war crimes after destruction of Sheikh Jarrah family home

TEL AVIV was accused of war crimes today after Israeli occupying forces forcibly removed the Salhiya family from their East Jerusalem home before destroying it.

Screams and cries for help were heard from inside the home as Israeli police erected a barrier around the property in the Sheikh Jarrah district.

Yasmin Salhiya said that Israeli soldiers beat her nine-year-old sister and her aunt, who is unable to move due to her injuries.

Dozens of Palestinians were blockaded inside the home while journalists and medics were prevented from entering.

One local reporter said police and the Israeli military threatened to beat him if he came any closer to the barrier.

At least 22 people were arrested after they were shot at with rubber bullets, witnesses reported.

“Fuck Israel and fuck the genocidal death cult that is Zionism,” Sheikh Jarrah resident Mohammed el-Kurd said.

The Palestinian Authority accused the Israeli government of committing a war crime and said it “bears responsibility for its dangerous repercussions.”

In a statement, the office of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called on the United States “to shoulder its responsibility and immediately intervene to stop these continuing Israeli crimes against our people in Jerusalem, specifically in Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood.”

He also called for the swift protection of the Palestinian people “who are subjected to a policy of racial discrimination the like of which the world has never seen before.”

Today’s demolition of the Salhiya family home came just two days after it was postponed following a mass community defence campaign which stopped the bulldozers in their tracks.

Ofer Kasif, a Hadash member of the Knesset, was one of hundreds forcibly removed from Monday’s blockade which saw authorities withdraw after an hours-long standoff.

One Palestinian commentator said: “When we say that the Nakba has never ended, we mean exactly that … the destruction of the Salhiya family home is all part of the same struggle and the same story.”

Sheikh Jarrah has been the site of Palestinian resistance to what is seen as an Israeli ethnic cleansing operation driving thousands from their homes.

Last May Israel launched an 11-day bombardment of the besieged Gaza Strip in what it said was a response to Hamas aggression launched in defence of the Palestinian communities there.

More than 250 Palestinians were killed, including 66 children, as missiles targeted health facilities, infrastructure and buildings housing journalists.

The Salhiya family were given the rights to the home which they purchased before 1967, when Israel illegally occupied East Jerusalem after the six day war.

But the occupying forces are supporting the claims of illegal settlers, using a law drafted in 1970 which allows Jews to seize property lost during the 1948 war which established the state of Israel.

This right does not extend to Palestinians, hundreds of thousands of whom were driven from their homes during the Nakba, many of whom live in squalid conditions in refugee camps.

Israeli authorities insist that the land will be used to build a school for Palestinians with learning difficulties.

Critics dismiss this and say that other land is earmarked for the development, accusing Tel Aviv of ethnic cleansing.

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