Israeli authorities are bracing for more violence over the weekend after a recent spate of shootings and as tensions soar over the threatened eviction of dozens of Palestinians from their homes in east Jerusalem.
Israeli troops shot and killed two Palestinians and seriously wounded a third after they opened fire with makeshift submachine guns on a base in the occupied West Bank on Friday morning, Israel’s police said.
Meanwhile, in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, tensions are high over a long-running legal case involving the homes of four Palestinian families on land claimed by Jewish settlers, set to be heard by Israel’s Supreme Court on Monday.
Palestinian families have lived in the area for decades, but the settler groups claim the land the houses were built on was originally owned by Jewish organizations before 1948, when fighting divided Jerusalem into east and west.
Israel captured east Jerusalem, along with the West Bank and Gaza — territories the Palestinians want for their future state — in the 1967 Arab-Israeli war.
A law passed by Israel’s parliament in 1970 allows for property previously owned by Jewish people in east Jerusalem to be reclaimed, although Palestinians have no such right to reclaim property in west Jerusalem.
The four Palestinian families in Sheikh Jarrah are facing imminent eviction on the basis of that law, and several attempts at mediation have broken down.
Activists say the legal battle in Sheikh Jarrah is one part of a systematic effort by settler groups to change the demography of east Jerusalem by displacing Palestinians and moving Israelis to the area.