The middle-of-the-night eviction last week of an elderly Palestinian couple from their home in East Jerusalem to make way for Jewish settlers is a demonstration of Israeli intent towards a future peace deal with the Palestinians.
Mohammed and Fawziya Khurd are now on the street, living in a tent, after Israeli police enforced a court order issued in July to expel them.
The couple have been living in the same property in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood since the mid-1950s, when East Jerusalem was under Jordanian control. The United Nations allotted them the land after they were expelled from their homes in territory that was seized by Israel during the 1948 war.
Since East Jerusalem’s occupation by Israel in 1967, however, Jewish settler groups have been waging a relentless battle for the Khurds’ home, claiming that the land originally belonged to Jews.
In 1999, the settlers occupied a wing of the house belonging to the couple’s son, Raed, though the courts subsequently ruled in favour of the family. The eviction order against the settlers, unlike that against the Khurds, was never enforced.