Clashes outside Jerusalem home of evicted Palestinians
OCCUPIED EAST JERUSALEM - Clashes broke out on Friday during protests in support of a Palestinian family evicted from their home in illegally occupied east Jerusalem, AFP journalists said.
Around 150 Palestinians and leftwing Israeli activists protested the eviction of the Shamasneh family, with scuffles between the Israeli occupation forces, Israeli settlers, and protesters, AFP reporters on the scene in the Sheikh Jarrah district said.
At least four people, including a young Palestinian child, were detained by Israeli police while settlers sprayed gas at the demonstrators, the reporters said.
An Israeli civilian attacked an AFP video journalist without provocation, punching his camera and hitting his nose.
As the AFP journalist reacted to the attack, police officers on the scene hit him repeatedly.
The Shamasnehs, including 84-year-old grandfather Ayoub, were forcibly evicted on Tuesday from their home of more than 50 years, after an Israeli court ruled Israeli Jews the legal occupants.
They had for years been fighting a court battle against Jewish claimants who said the building was their family property, which they fled when east Jerusalem was occupied by Jordanian troops in the 1948 war that led to the creation of the Zionist state.
Under Israeli law, if Jews can prove their families lived in occupied east Jerusalem homes before the 1948 war they can demand that Israel's general custodian office release the property and return their "ownership rights".
During that war, thousands of Jews fled Jerusalem as Jordanian-led Arab forces seized the city, while around 700,000 Palestinians were forced from their homes on land that was later to become Israel. No such law exists for the Palestinians whose land was stolen.
The Shamasnehs say they had paid 250 shekels ($70) a month to the general custodian since 1967, an arrangement used by the settlers' side as proof that the family acknowledged its status as tenants.
In 2013, the Israeli Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Jewish claimants, who subsequently sold the property on to unspecified owners.
Tuesday's eviction was the first in the neighbourhood since 2009, according to Israeli anti-occupation group Peace Now.