Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP) Strongly Opposes the Demolition of the Salhiya Family Home in Sheikh Jarrah
On January 19, 2022, in the early hours of the morning, Israeli police forcibly evicted the Salhiya family and demolished their home in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in East Jerusalem. The Israeli police violently raided the Salhiya family home and arrested several family members and other activists before the demolition. In 2017, the Israeli government claimed the home of the Salhiya family was built illegally. The Municipality of Jerusalem states their intention to use the land to build a school. In December 2021, the Salhiya family was presented with an eviction notice, which they continued to contest until the morning of the demolition. This action and other acts of eviction and demolition in occupied East Jerusalem are illegal under the Fourth Geneva Convention. Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP) strongly condemns the demolition of the Salhiya family home and urges the Biden Administration to intervene to end the forced displacement of Palestinians from Sheikh Jarrah.
This is not the first confrontation between the Israeli military and the Sheikh Jarrah residents. In May of 2021, CMEP spoke out against violence toward Palestinian residents of Sheikh Jarrah, several of whom received eviction notices from the Israeli government. The families protested the notices because many have lived in their homes for decades. In November 2021, the Israeli Supreme Court proposed keeping several of the families as “protected tenants” who would then be able to rent the homes from Israeli settlers. The Palestinian residents of Sheikh Jarrah rejected the court decision, which led to an escalation of the violence between the residents of Sheikh Jarrah and the Israeli military and police. The residents have been working to keep their homes ever since.
The January 19th demolition of the Salhiya family home only further exacerbates the forced displacement of Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem by privileging the rights of Jewish Israelis and extremist settler groups. CMEP’s Executive Director, Rev. Dr. Mae Elise Cannon, says, “The recent destruction of the Salhiya family home is unacceptable. We are not only grieved on the family’s behalf, but fear the implication that other Palestinian families in Sheikh Jarrah will not experience a just resolution to the current conflicts around their property rights. The ongoing privileging of one segment of the population in Jerusalem over Palestinian residents of the city shows overt prejudice and discrimination.” The Biden Administration must intervene immediately and call on Israel to act in accordance with international law. If the Israeli government refuses to do so, the United States must put words into action by ensuring no U.S. funds to Israel are used to demolish Palestinian homes and displace Palestinian families.
Formed in 1984, Churches for Middle East Peace (CMEP) is a coalition of 30 national church communions and organizations, including Catholic, Orthodox, Protestant, and Evangelical traditions that works to encourage US policies that actively promote a comprehensive resolution to conflicts in the Middle East with a focus on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. CMEP works to mobilize US Christians to embrace a holistic perspective and to be advocates of equality, human rights, security, and justice for Israelis, Palestinians, and all people of the Middle East.
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