By Karen Rodman
Haaretz recently reported that 87 Palestinian residents of Al-Quds (Jerusalem) are expected to be evicted from their homes following three separate Israeli court decisions in favor of Zionist settlers.
The families in occupied Al-Quds are under severe threat, with the vulnerability of being rendered homeless compounded by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Adding insult to injury, these families are also ordered to pay large settlements, such as the one last month which required the Palestinian family to pay 260,000 shekels in court costs along with the settlers’ attorney fees.
These evictions are all part of a bigger picture of planned demographic change in Jerusalem.
The Jerusalem municipal “Local Development Plan 2000” specifies that it plans to establish a “demographic balance” to reduce the percent of Palestinians living in Al-Quds.
Since 1967, Israel’s illegal annexation has imposed a series of policies that have collectively worked to reduce Jerusalem’s Palestinian population including preventing the return of Jerusalemites living outside the city boundaries.
The aim is to ultimately de-populate Jerusalem of its indigenous Palestinian residents.
On Sunday, December 6, a panel of experts will discuss the threat to Al-Quds.
This will include:
Zakaria Odeh who is the director of Civic Coalition for Palestinian Rights in Jerusalem (CCPRJ). He has been a civil society grassroots activist and human rights defender for decades.
He is an expert on human rights and the legal situation in occupied Jerusalem. Zakaria will speak about the situation in Al-Quds including forced demographic change.
Dr. Yusuf Said Natsheh, director of the prestigious Department of Tourism and Archaeology at al-Haram al-Sharif in Jerusalem will join the panel, speak specifically to the threat to al-Haram al-Sharif, and why this should be of concern to Muslims worldwide.
Dr. Natsheh lives in Al-Quds, and received his PhD from the University of London, School of Oriental and African studies (SOAS) in 1997, specializing in Ottoman Architecture.
He is an active council member of many Palestinian Societies focused on architectural heritage in Jerusalem.
A third Jerusalemite will also join the panel. Jonathan Kuttab is founder of Al-Haq, a recognized international human rights lawyer, who has his law office in Al-Quds.
He will talk about international responsibility in the current context.
Jonathan was a visiting scholar at Osgoode Law School in Toronto in 2017.
His decades of legal service and creative activism has led him to write a new book Beyond the Two State Solutionwhich he hopes will encourage people to have a new conversation about the way forward.
Along with the residents of Al-Quds, Azeezah Kanji, a legal academic and journalist from Toronto will join the panel. She received her Juris Doctor from University of Toronto’s Faculty of Law, and Masters of Law specializing in Islamic Law from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London.
Azeezah’s work focuses on issues relating to racism, law, and social justice. She will challenge us to consider our accountability internationally including within the Canadian context.
In 1980, the United Nations Resolution 35/169 deplored “the persistence of Israel in changing the physical character, demographic composition, institutional structure and the status of the Holy City of Jerusalem” and express deep concern “over the enactment of a basic law in the Israeli Knesset proclaiming a change in the character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem, with its implications for peace and security.”
Canada was one of the member states that voted against this resolution in 1980. Canada did not stand to say that the then “new Basic Law on Jerusalem and the proclamation of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, are null and void and must be rescinded forthwith.”
A recent analysis of Canada’s votes at the United Nations show this stance to be very consistent.
This webinar will be a unique opportunity to come together with experts to understand the situation, and consider the way forward.
Over fifty organizations from across Canada, and around the world have endorsed the event.
Crescent International is a media endorser.
Karen Rodman is director with Just Peace Advocates, one of the groups co-hosting the event on December 6. Just Peace Advocates has just completed a recent analysis of Canada’s voting at the UN since 1947.