Palestinian Family Threatens to Set Themselves on Fire During Eviction of Home

Palestinians take to the roof of a home, threatening to blow up the dwelling with a gas balloon after Israeli police arrive to carry out an eviction order, in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of Yerushalayim, on Monday. (REUTERS/Ammar Awad)

Members of the Salhia family have threatened to set themselves on fire to prevent police from forcibly evicting them from their home in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in Yerushalayim.

The family is in the midst of a protracted legal battle with the Yerushalayim municipality, over the fate of two homes on property the city has expropriated for the construction of a school.

The two homes, one owned by Mahmoud Salhia and the other by his sister Amal, are part of two separate lawsuits before the Yerushalayim District Court, which rejected the suit of Mahmoud’s family while still adjudicating Amal’s case, according to the left-wing NGO Ir Amim.

Mahmoud’s family has appealed the ruling and has asked to link both cases. The court has told the municipality to respond to the appeal by Jan. 19 – Wednesday – and has set a court hearing for Jan. 23- next Sunday – acceding to Ir Amim.

The eviction order against Mahmoud’s home, however, has remained in place even as the legal proceedings are ongoing, Ir Amim said.

The Salhia family fled the west Yerushalayim neighborhood of Ein Kerem during the 1948 War of Independence and settled in Sheikh Jarrah in the eastern part of the city, which was under Jordanian rule for 19 years. Israel liberated the eastern part of the city from Jordan after the Six Day War.

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