Tensions have been running high since an Israeli court last week ordered the eviction of Palestinian families from the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem, leading to protests by Palestinians and Israeli attacks on Palestinian civilians.

Palestinian demonstrators run away from the gas fired by Israeli soldiers during an anti-Israel demonstration over tensions in Jerusalem near the Jewish settlement of Beit El near Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, on May 13, 2021.
Palestinian demonstrators run away from the gas fired by Israeli soldiers during an anti-Israel demonstration over tensions in Jerusalem near the Jewish settlement of Beit El near Ramallah in the occupied West Bank, on May 13, 2021. (AFP)

Twenty-five Democratic members of the US House of Representatives have sent a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, calling on him to pressure Israel to halt the planned forced eviction of Palestinians in occupied East Jerusalem.

"We write to express our deep concern about Israel's imminent plan to forcibly displace nearly 2,000 Palestinians in the Jerusalem neighbourhoods of Al-Bustan and Sheikh Jarrah," said the letter, led by Representatives Marie Newman and Mark Pocan.

"We call upon the Department of State to exert diplomatic pressure to prevent these acts from taking place," they said in the letter.

The letter cited a report which revealed that an estimated 5,000 Palestinian homes were destroyed by Israeli authorities in East Jerusalem between 1967 and 2017.

"East Jerusalem is part of the West Bank, and, under international law, Israel is in military occupation of this territory," said the letter.

READ MORE: Death toll from relentless Israeli air strikes in Gaza soars to 67

Rising tensions 

Tensions have been running high since an Israeli court last week ordered the eviction of Palestinian families from the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem, leading to protests by Palestinians and Israeli attacks on Palestinian civilians, including worshippers at the city’s Al-Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest site in Islam.

The latest death toll from ongoing Israeli attacks in the Gaza rose to 67, including five women and 17 children, with 388 people injured, the Palestinian Health Ministry said Wednesday.

READ MORE: New Hamas rocket barrage after Israel levels another Gaza tower

Heavy damage

Heavy damage has also been recorded across Gaza's residential areas, including the leveling of multistory buildings.

To date, six Israelis have been killed in the recent violence – five of them in rocket attacks in addition to a soldier killed when an anti-tank guided missile struck his jeep.

Israel occupied East Jerusalem during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war and annexed the city in its entirety in 1980 in a move that has never been recognised by the international community.

READ MORE: Israel kills two in West Bank as tension rises between Jews, Palestinians

Source: AA