It must be the smallest Israeli settlement in the occupied Palestinian territories: just half a house. But Palestinian officials and Israeli human rights groups are concerned that it represents the first stage of a plan to eradicate the historical neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah in East Jerusalem, cutting off one of the main routes by which Palestinians reach the Old City and its holy sites.
The home of Mohammed and Fawziya Khurd has been split in two since 1999 when the Israeli courts evicted their grown-up son Raed from a wing of the property. The elderly couple have been trying to regain possession, but were stymied last week when an Israeli high court backed the petition of a group of settlers and ordered the immediate eviction of the Khurds. The decision paves the way for the takeover of 26 multistory houses in the neighbourhood, threatening to make 500 Palestinians homeless.