European powers tell Israel to stop settlement expansion
Israel says 'two gunmen' killed in West Bank
The United Nations yesterday urged Israel to call off any forced evictions in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem, warning that its actions could amount to "war crimes".
"We call on Israel to immediately call off all forced evictions," UN rights office spokesman Rupert Colville told reporters in Geneva.
His comment came after 15 Palestinians were arrested in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem overnight in clashes with police over an eviction threat against four Palestinian families.
The second straight night of rioting in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood was fuelled by a years-long land dispute between Palestinian refugees and Jewish settlers in the strategic district near Jerusalem's Old City.
Tensions have been fuelled by a long-running legal case over the homes of four Palestinian families on land claimed by Jews, which is due to go before the Supreme Court on Monday.
"We wish to emphasise that East Jerusalem remains part of the occupied Palestinian territory, in which international humanitarian law applies," Colville said. "The occupying power... cannot confiscate private property in occupied territory," he said, adding that transferring civilian populations into occupied territory was illegal under international law and "may amount to war crimes."
On Thursday, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Britain urged Israel to halt settlement-building in the occupied West Bank.
Israel seized east Jerusalem in 1967 and later annexed it, in a move not recognised by most of the international community.
Meanwhile, Israeli security forces killed two gunmen and critically wounded a third yesterday after they opened fire on a base in the occupied West Bank, Israeli police said. There was no immediate word on the identity of the attackers or any claim of responsibility.