East Jerusalem remains part of the Occupied Palestinian Territory, in which international humanitarian law applies, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Rupert Colville noted at a press briefing.
The official added that the occupying power ‘cannot confiscate private property in an occupied territory’ and ‘even less transfer it to civilians,’ as is the case here.
The climate in East Jerusalem, Al Quds for Muslims, is one of growing tension due to the demolition of Arab homes and the invasions by Israeli settlers of sacred Islamic sites, which have caused violent protests by the local population.
Nearly two dozen Palestinians were arrested on Friday for participating in demonstrations against the occupation and annexation of Jerusalem, proclaimed by the Knesset (Israeli unicameral parliament) in 1980 and deemed illegal, with few exceptions, by the vast majority of the international community and the UN.
Earlier today, the Palestinian Presidency praised the statement issued hours ago by the European Union, which urges Israel to halt plans to expand its colonial settlements in the occupied West Bank.
In a press statement, the bloc recalls that according to international law, settlements are illegal as is the forced eviction of Palestinians from East Jerusalem, and underscores that both policies ‘threaten the prospects for a peaceful settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.’