Hamas: ‘Escalation in Sheikh Jarrah Will Drag Us to New Round’ of Violence

Shimon HaTzaddik neighborhood in Jerusalem. The Arabs refer to it as Sheikh Jarrah. Photo by TPS on 16 April, 2021

By: Baruch Yedid

Khalil Al-Hayya, deputy chairman of Hamas’ political bureau in the Gaza Strip, warned Monday of a “return to the events of May 11,” as he put it.

Hamas fired rockets at Jerusalem as Israelis celebrated Jerusalem Day and participated in the Flag March in the city. The attack led to 11 days of warfare and the IDF’s Operation Guardian of the Walls against Hamas.

“The enemy is trying to establish new facts, by announcing the march of the flags and by escalating in Sheikh Jarrah. We are telling the mediators clearly, it is time to curb the occupation [i.e. Israel] or the thunders will come,” he threatened.

He was relating to a planned second march in Jerusalem, which was banned by the police, and a pending court order on the evacuation of Arab residents living illegally in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood.

Al Haya emphasized that “the flag march to Al Aqsa Thursday, will return the parties to the confrontation that began on May 11.”

One of the residents’ representatives in Sheikh Jarrah told TPS that “it seems that the chances of preventing the eviction are zero after the Attorney General’s announcement, and there is no chance that the settlers will compromise and give up the eviction order that was approved in the district court after they proved ownership of the properties.”

The level of tension in eastern Jerusalem is peaking with the announcement of Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit to the High Court of Justice on Monday that the state did not intend to express a position on the legal issue of Sheikh Jarrah. The decision comes days before the court hearing regarding the assets in Sheikh Jarrah.

In eastern Jerusalem, it is now estimated that the evacuation of the 28 Arab families is closer than ever, and it is expected to take place within days, in light of the court’s recognition of the ownership documents presented by the Israeli Nahalat Shimon organization.

A Fatah source told TPS that “the way has been paved for a confrontation and a renewed escalation.” According to him, Fatah will not abandon the arena in eastern Jerusalem and will not allow Hamas to take over the struggle, and Fatah is expected to participate in protest activities in the city.

Sources in the east of the city say that Mendelblit’s decision is of no importance because “in any case, Israel allows the takeover of the neighborhood’s properties. The attorney’s general’s decision is proof of the Israeli government’s forced immigration policy” against the Arabs.

A public figure, a resident of the Silwan neighborhood near the Old City, told TPS that “the residents of the neighborhood have nothing to lose. This is a dangerous move that no one is happy about.”