JERUSALEM, February 17, 2022 (WAFA) – Israeli occupation forces imposed today a nearly full lockdown of occupied Jerusalem’s highly-tense Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, shortly after dozens of local Palestinian citizens and peace activists supporting them in the neighborhood were assaulted by the forces.

WAFA correspondent said Israeli Police physically assaulted Palestinians and solidarity activists outside the home of the Salem family – who are facing a risk of forceful Israeli expulsion – in the neighborhood and injured many of them.

Paramedics attempting to provide first aid to the injured were also denied entry into the neighborhood by the police, she added.

Tensions remained high in the neighborhood over the past week as extreme right-wing Israelis led by fascist Israeli lawmaker Itamar Ben Gvir set up a makeshift office in the neighborhood, provoking its residents and drawing confrontations from time to time.

Ben-Gvir is head of the Jewish Power party, part of the Religious Zionism political alliance that calls for the eviction of Palestinians from their lands and running Israel according to Torah texts.

On Sunday, he opened his makeshift office in Sheikh Jarrah on a plot of land belonging to the Salem family that was confiscated by settler groups last month.

Following the move, dozens of settlers raided the neighborhood just after midnight, pelting stones at Palestinian homes and damaging cars.

Settlers then reached the house of the Salem family and assaulted women and children with pepper spray, residents told Anadolu agency.

Currently, 37 Palestinian families live in Sheikh Jarrah, six of them are facing imminent eviction. Since 2020, Israeli courts have ordered the eviction of 13 Palestinian families in Sheikh Jarrah.

The area became a focal point of protest and sit-in solidarity activities last year, drawing in Palestinian and anti-occupation Israeli and international activists.

Photo: WAFA