Israeli settlers seize house in Jerusalem
Thu Apr 2, 10:11 am ET
JERUSALEM (AFP) – Israeli settlers seized a house in the Muslim quarter of Jerusalem Old City's on Thursday after breaking in before dawn, the owner's family and witnesses said.
The house belongs to Nasser Jaber and was vacant, as there were works going on, they said.
"The settlers broke down the door and changed the locks," Jaber's father, Ali, told AFP. "We called the (Israeli) police, but instead of removing them, the police are protecting them."
He said the settlers belong to Ateret Cohanim, a far-right organisation dedicated to settling as many Jews as possible in east Jerusalem, especially the Old City.
Several years ago the organisation tried to take over the same house by presenting a bill of sale, which an Israeli court later said was falsified, he said.
On Thursday, the Jaber family filed another lawsuit before an Israeli court seeking to remove the settlers from their house, Jaber said.
A spokesman for Ateret Cohanim confirmed to AFP that the organisation had taken over the house, insisting that it had bought it.
"We sent a couple of youth into the house," he said. "It is Jewish property and we will prove it before the court."
A spokesman for Jerusalem city police, Shmulik Ben Rubi said only that "the affair is before the courts."
Some 1,000 Israeli settlers live in houses that Aterit Cohanim says it has bought in the Old City since 1978, most of them in the Muslim quarter.
Israel captured mostly Arab east Jerusalem in 1967, later annexing the city in a move not recognised by the international community.
Separately, Israeli settlers took over four empty Palestinian stores in a market in the old city Hebron, adjacent to an area where some 600 settlers live, according to witnesses.