JERUSALEM, June 26 (JMCC) - Hundreds of Palestinians demonstrated Friday against Israel
and house demolitions
, centering their protests in Beit Safafa
In Beit Safafa, Palestinian political figures from Jerusalem and inside Israel responded to a local invitation to attend Friday prayers near several homes where Palestinians have been evicted by the courts in favor of Jewish residents.
The event marked a growing unified presence in Jerusalem between political groups usually rife with divisions and differences.
Sheikh Ikrama Sabri, former mufti and chair of Jerusalem's Supreme Islamic Council, said in his Friday sermon that the evictions are a great injustice, and that the land of Jerusalem should be protected and preserved.
It has become commonplace for occupation authorities to pitch a new battle in Jerusalem daily, Fateh
leader Hatem Abdel Qader
told the crowd. These policies will not discourage us from resisting them and supporting the steadfastness of the people of Jerusalem.
He thanked the efforts of the Islamic Movement inside Israel, which has been active in recent years in bringing groups to pray and shop in Jerusalem while Palestinians from the West Bank
are no longer permitted to visit the city's holy sites.
We must remain in Jerusalem, said the Islamic movement's adviser Ali Abu Sheikha, persisting in preserving our rights for the sake of the holy sites.
Beit Safafa is home to four nuclear families of approximately 60 members headed by an aging patriarch, Ali Salah, 104, and his wife, Shiha Salah, 98.
Right-wing Israelis have targeted the family's land for the establishment of a Jewish settlement
. An Israeli court ordered the eviction of the Salah family from their home several months ago, but the family remains on the land in a makeshift home.
In Silwan Friday, also in occupied East Jerusalem, another protest dissolved into brief clashes between Israeli police and young men in the neighborhood.
This week, Israeli city officials decided to move ahead with the demolition of 22 Palestinian homes in the neighborhood.