Blinken reiterates US opposition to Israeli evictions in Sheikh Jarrah

Jacob Magid is The Times of Israel's US correspondent based in New York

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken tells the Palestinian Al-Ayyam newspaper that Washington is opposed to the looming Israeli evictions of several Palestinian families in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah.

The Sheikh Jarrah evictions are based in part on a 1970 Israeli law that allows Jews to reclaim East Jerusalem land owned by Jews before 1948. No similar law exists for Palestinians who lost their homes in what is now Israel during the 1948 war, and the Knesset passed a law in 1950 barring them from reclaiming property lost.

Palestinian demonstrators wave their national flag at a protest against the eviction of some Palestinians from Sheikh Jarrah in East Jerusalem on Friday, April 16, 2021 (Aaron Boxerman/The Times of Israel)

Blinken says the US is “very concerned” about the evictions, noting that the Palestinians in the homes in question have lived there for generations and that such steps by Israel — along with settlement building and home demolitions as well as incitement and payments to terrorists by Palestinians — distance the sides from a two-state solution.

This is not the first time the US has condemned the evictions, but it has largely kept silent on the matter since the Gaza war broke out, instead focusing on backing Israel and its right to defend itself against Hamas rocket fire.

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