Sheikh Jarrah is a Palestinian residential neighborhood located to the north of the Old City in occupied East Jerusalem
, and it is home to some 2,700 Palestinians.
The area is renowned for its many landmarks, such as the Shepherd Hotel, the Oriental House, the American Colony Hotel and the Palestinian National Theater.
The Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood was built by the UN and Jordanian government in 1956 to house Palestinian refugees from the 1948 war. After the Israeli occupation of East Jerusalem in 1967, settlers began claiming ownership of the land and houses in this neighborhood based on Ottoman-era documents, after the propertieszzz*z original owners, the Sephardic Community Committee, granted settler group Nahal Shimon power to administer them.
Sheikh Jarrah is part of the so-called “Holy Basin” that encompasses places in the Old City of Jerusalem that are holy to Judaism, Christianity and Islam. This concept was introduced by Israel during the Camp David
negotiations in July 2000 with the intention of establishing an international administration in the area. However, the Palestinians rejected the idea and demanded that East Jerusalem fall under Palestinian sovereignty, as part of the lands Israel occupied in 1967.
According to the UNzzz*zs Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
, efforts by Israeli settler groups to evict Palestinian families and communities living in Sheikh Jarrah have intensified in recent years. After forced evictions
take place, the homes are subsequently occupied by Israeli settlers. To achieve this, Israeli settler groups claim property rights to Sheikh Jarrah houses. They use a complex system of legal, administrative and institutional mechanisms that usually leads to land expropriation, dispossession and displacement of the Palestinian residents of Sheikh Jarrah.
According to Hatem Abdel Qader
, Sheikh Jarrah is particularly vulnerable to illegal Israeli expansion because it connects Jewish West Jerusalem, the Old City and Israeli settlements to the north and east.
In October 2010, OCHA report
estimated that some 475 Palestinian residents living in the Sheikh Jarrah area were at risk of forced eviction, dispossession and displacement with implementation of Israeli plans for over 540 new settlement units.