By World Israel News Staff and AP
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken told Israeli leaders that renewed “tension, conflict and war” could result if Jews proceed with their lawsuit to reclaim homes in the eastern portion of Jerusalem.
During a Thursday night interview with Axios, Blinken told the outlet that he conveyed this message to Israeli leaders during his face-to-face meetings this week.
“We raised the concerns that we have on all sides with actions that in the first instance could spark tension, conflict and war and also ultimately undermine even further the difficult prospects for two states,” said Blinken.
Blinken was in Israel on Tuesday and Wednesday, meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi, Defense Minister Benny Gantz, and President Reuven Rivlin, among others
In his interview with Axios, Blinken referred to Jews’ attempts to reclaim property in Jerusalem as “evictions of Palestinians from their homes where they lived for decades and generations.” He also obliquely referred to attacks on Israeli police by Arab rioters at the al-Aqsa compound in Jerusalem as “everything that took place on and around the Temple Mount.”
With regard to the so-called evictions, which relate to property in the Sheikh Jarrah section of Jerusalem, University of San Diego School of Law professor Avi Bell recently summarized the dispute as a “controversy … widely misreported as an effort by the State of Israel to evict a number of Palestinian Arab families from their ancestral homes in a purely Palestinian Arab neighborhood of eastern Jerusalem,” JNS reported.
“The more prosaic truth,” Bell continued, “is that the eviction orders are the result of a decades-long legal battle by the owners of private property in Sheikh Jarrah to recover possession of their land from squatters and tenants who have not paid rent for decades; the State of Israel has never been a party to the legal proceedings.”
Bell noted, “Among the many false claims made with respect to the Sheikh Jarrah controversy, perhaps most devastating is the charge that Israeli law permits Jews to reclaim ownership of lands they owned in eastern Jerusalem prior to 1948, but denies Palestinians the right to reclaim ownership of lands they owned in western Jerusalem or elsewhere in Israel until 1948. This description of Israeli law is false in every particular.”
Bell added, “The Sheikh Jarrah properties that are subject to the current lawsuits were sequestered by the Jordanian Custodian of Enemy Property in 1948, but released from sequestration by Israel in the aftermath of the 1967 war.”
Last Wednesday, Blinken wrapped up a two-day Mideast mission, securing hundreds of millions of dollars of pledges from Arab allies as he moved to shore up the cease-fire that ended an 11-day war between Israel and the Gaza Strip’s Palestinian terror factions and their Iranian benefactors.
“We see the ceasefire, not as an end, but as a beginning, something to build on,” Blinken told reporters in the Jordanian capital of Amman, where he met King Abdullah II.