US complains to Oren over e. J'lem eviction

State Department officials phone ambassador, express disapproval for ousting of e. J'lem families.

sheikh jarrah house 248.88 (photo credit: AP)
sheikh jarrah house 248.88
(photo credit: AP)
The US State Department once again expressed its disapproval Tuesday night over Israel's eviction of two Palestinian families from their homes in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah. The American officials made a phone call to Israel's Ambassador to Washington Michael Oren and protested the move. Foreign Ministry officials in Jerusalem stressed Wednesday that the call was not a reprimand. On Monday Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called the eviction "deeply regrettable" and "provocative." "I have said before that the eviction of families and demolition of homes in east Jerusalem is not in keeping with Israeli obligations," she told reporters. "And I urge the government of Israel and municipal officials to refrain from such provocative actions." The European Union has also criticized Israel for the eviction, expressing "serious concerns" over the action. Swedish government spokesman Anders Jorle said Israeli Ambassador Binyamin Dagan was summoned to the Foreign Ministry on Monday, where he was handed the 27-nation bloc's statement describing Sunday's evictions "unacceptable." Sweden holds the six-month rotating EU presidency until December. The EU said "house demolitions, evictions and settlement activities in East Jerusalem are illegal under international law." Robert Serry, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, called Sunday's evictions "totally unacceptable." "These actions heighten tensions and undermine international efforts to create conditions for fruitful negotiations to achieve peace," he said in a statement. The evictions were carried out early Sunday morning after the Supreme Court ruled in favor of Jewish families who claimed ownership. The families had maintained that the homes were owned by Jews dating back to the late 19th century, and were abandoned during a spate of Arab attacks in the area in the 1920s and '30s.