Israeli settlers, consisted of twenty young people, took over a three-apartment residential building in occupied East Jerusalem Silwan neighborhood while the family was away on Wednesday night, the Anadolu Agency reported.
“At least 20 Jewish settlers backed by Israeli forces stormed the Maragha area in Silwan and seized the three apartments,” Jawad Siyam, head of the Wadi Hilweh Information Center, told the Anadolu Agency.
“At dawn, settlers stormed the building and broke down the doors, taking advantage of the fact that the owners were not present,” he said.
Siyam said that at least sixteen Palestinians from Abu Naeb family have been living in the building since 1986.
According to International Middle East Media Center (IMMC), all family members left their apartments on Tuesday evening, to visit one of their brothers who lives in historic Palestine.
During the attack, cousins of the building’s owners, clashed with settlers especially when the intruders tried to blockade some of the windows, and sprayed the Palestinians with pepper-spray.
IMMC added that neighbors phoned the family members who rushed back to their building to find it surrounded by Israeli soldiers.
The Jerusalem municipality said they are not going follow up on the case since the building was empty and is owned by the settlers.
"Jews have the right live anywhere they choose in the world, especially in Jerusalem," the city officer said.
“The Jerusalem municipality and Israel Police aren't involved in the case. No warrant was imposed on the Arab residents. This is a civilian issue that has nothing to do with the authorities," he added.
Israel’s Supreme Court ruled on April that Israelis can confiscate Palestinian properties in Jerusalem.
Constituted by Israel in 1950, the law allows authorities to seize structures abandoned by Palestinians upon the establishment of Israel in 1948.
According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), 174 Palestinian homes in the West Bank and Jerusalem have been demolished by Israeli authorities since the beginning of the year and displaced 251 Palestinians.