Israel plays for time on flashpoint Jerusalem evictions

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Israel plays for time on flashpoint Jerusalem evictions

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Israel plays for time on flashpoint Jerusalem evictions by : 12:08 pm On May 10, 2021

09145036

Israel’s attorney-general secured a deferment on Sunday of a court hearing on planned evictions of Palestinians in Jerusalem, a session that had threatened to stoke more violence in the holy city and heighten international concern.

The government could now have some breathing room to try to defuse a tinderbox situation in Jerusalem, where the court case and friction during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan have led to clashes between Palestinians and Israeli police.

The Israeli Supreme Court had been due on Monday to hear appeals against the planned evictions of several Palestinian families from the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood in East Jerusalem, an area captured by Israel in a 1967 war.

A lower court had found in favour of Jewish settlers’ claim to the land on which the Palestinians’ homes are located, a decision seen by Palestinians as a bid by Israel to drive them from contested Jerusalem.

But in a last-minute legal move, the appellants asked the court to seek a legal opinion from Attorney-General Avichai Mandelblit, opening the way for Monday’s session to be postponed and the possibility he could argue against the evictions.

A spokesman for Mandelblit said the court agreed to receive a future submission from the attorney-general and that a new session would be scheduled within 30 days.

CLASHES

East Jerusalem tensions have spilled over into clashes between Israeli police and Palestinians around Al-Aqsa, Islam’s third-holiest mosque, at the height of the Ramadan fast month.

Whether further violence will erupt could also depend on another event scheduled for Monday – an annual march by Israeli flag-waving Jewish youth to Jerusalem’s Old City, whose population is largely Palestinian, to mark what Israel celebrates as Jerusalem’s reunification in 1967.

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