The Ongoing Struggle for Palestinian Homes in Jerusalem’s Old City
In a disturbing turn of events, Israeli settlers seized control of a Palestinian home in the Qarmi neighborhood of occupied Jerusalem, belonging to the Idrees family in the city’s historic Old City. These settlers were accompanied by Israeli military forces during this occupation.
Local sources report that the homeowners, members of the Idrees family, were away at the hospital, tending to their ailing mother when their neighbors were startled by the sound of settlers breaking into the house. The settlers proceeded to replace doors and install iron grills on the windows, effectively taking over the property.
According to Mohammad Idrees, the homeowner, the family has owned the house since 1979 and possesses the necessary documentation proving their ownership of the house.
This incident is not isolated, as it is part of an ongoing struggle involving the seizure of homes in the Old City’s Qarmi neighborhood, located just a ten-minute walk from Al-Aqsa Mosque.
The homes in this area not only bear witness to the complex issue of settlement expansion but also face structural instability due to extensive excavations beneath the neighborhood.
These excavations have weakened the foundations of many houses, putting them at risk of collapse.
Israeli Expansionist Interests
Ziyad Al-Hamouri, the director of the Center for Social and Economic Studies in Jerusalem, explains that neighborhoods like Qarmi, situated in the vicinity of Al-Aqsa Mosque, are prime targets for Israeli expansionist interests.
Al-Hamouri highlights that Qarmi lies within the walls of the Old City, in the northwest direction of Al-Aqsa Mosque, near the Qattanin Gate and close to the Dar Al-Aytam Islamic orphanage in Harat Al-Wad.
Numerous legal disputes exist between the neighborhood’s residents and the Israeli occupation. Currently, the extremist right-wing Israeli government is pushing to demolish historic homes and landmarks in the Old City to make way for settlement projects, often with support from settlement associations.
Deceptive Tactics and Structural Dangers
Omar Al-Jariri, a Jerusalem-based researcher, notes that Qarmi connects the Seraya Hill and Khalidiya Hill within the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem.
Since the early days of occupation, settlement organizations have relentlessly sought to take control of properties in this area.
Deceptive tactics to wrest control of houses in the neighborhood continue unabated. These include ongoing excavations beneath the neighborhood to coerce residents into vacating their homes, citing supposed structural dangers caused by these excavations.