Lawmakers urge Blinken to pressure Israel over Jerusalem expulsions

US lawmakers have urged Blinken to condemn Israel's planned displacement of Palestinians in East Jerusalem
2 min read
13 May, 2021
US lawmakers expressed deep concern over Israel's planned displacement of Palestinian families in Sheikh Jarrah.
Israel continues to illegally build settlements in occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank [Getty]

Several US lawmakers have signed a letter to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken calling on him to condemn the forced displacement of Palestinian residents in East Jerusalem.

The lawmakers expressed deep concern for Israel's displacement of Palestinians, calling on the US to exert diplomatic pressure on Israel to stop.

Twenty-five Democrat members of Congress in total have signed the letter, an effort being led by Representatives Marie Newman and Mark Pocan.

It listed international laws Israel was violating in the expulsions and continued construction of illegal settlements and how they fall under war crimes.

She added that Israel must clarify if and what US funded-weapons were being used in these operations.

"We must defend human rights everywhere," Newman wrote on Twitter, attaching the letter sent to Blinken.

Pocan wrote on Twitter that even allies of the US must be held accountable for human rights violations.

"We can't allow the forced displacement of Palestinians who have lived in Sheikh Jarrah for generations," he tweeted.

Newman and Pocan have both endorsed a recent bill introduced by Congresswoman Betty McCollum that seeks to block Israel from using US taxpayer money to commit unlawful acts.

According to a press release in April, McCollum's legislation prohibits Israel from using US taxpayer dollars for the military detention, abuse, or ill-treatment of Palestinian children in Israeli military detention.

It would also seek to prevent Israel from using that money to help seize and destroy Palestinian properties and homes in violation of international humanitarian law, among other measures.

Around 550 people who live in the Sheikh Jarrah district in East Jerusalem risk being expelled from their homes and taken over by Israeli settlers.

Eight have already received expulsion and could be forced to leave their homes by early May and August. 

Jewish settlers have laid claim to the properties based on a highly dubious assertion that they owned land in Sheikh Jarrah before the creation of Israel.

Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were displaced by Zionist militias in the war that accompanied Israel's establishment in 1948.

Sheikh Jarrah along with the rest of East Jerusalem came under the control of Jordan following that war.

Many refugees settled in the district after fleeing Zionist militias in other parts of what was now Israel.

Israel then seized East Jerusalem in the 1967 Six Day War and later annexed it.

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