Ismail Haniyeh
Ismail Haniyeh Reuters

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh has announced that all of the Islamic nation and the organizations of struggle stand behind the residents of Jerusalem's Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood.

Sheikh Jarrah, also known as Shimon Hatzadik, is a neighborhood in Jerusalem

Speaking at an event marking 104 years since the signing of the Balfour Declaration, Haniyeh said that the residents of Sheikh Jarrah have expressed their hold on the land and their devotion to their rights, and that they have taken responsibility in the greatest way possible.

He noted that the residents have been pressured and offered many attractive options in order to take the ownership of their properties away from them and turn them into renters, but that the residents acted appropriately and as they should, out of respect for those who fell in the "Battle of Al-Quds" (their name for Operation Guardian of the Walls).

"I applaud those of our nation in the neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, who announced today their opposition to any kind of agreement from the 'Israeli system of judges and courts,' quote enquote. They have succeeded in avoiding the political trap which was set for them by means of this agreement."

With regards to the conflict with Israel, Haniyeh emphasized that the "Palestinian nation" is the spearhead of the Islamic nation and the world when it comes to dealing with the "colonialist cancer." He also said that "national unity" in the "Palestinian camp" requires devotion to the larger struggle and all of its problems with Israel.

"We are acting in a world which only appreciates the strong, and the weak have no place at the table," Haniyeh added.

Sheikh Jarrah was home to Jewish families before Jordan captured the area in the 1948 war for Israel's independence. Jordan then gave the Jewish families' homes to Arabs who were displaced from Israel, charging them a nominal rent for the properties.

After Israel liberated the area in 1967, however, the Arab residents refused to pay rent, despite court orders recognizing the Jewish owners' rights over the property. On February 10, 2021, the Jerusalem District Court upheld an October 2020 Jerusalem Magistrate Court decision, requiring a number of Sheikh Jarrah residents to vacate properties they are living in by May 2, 2021.

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