Khaled Meshaal, the head of Hamas’ diaspora office, described the eviction of Palestinian families from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in East Jerusalem by Israeli authorities as “ethnic cleansing”.
“What’s happening in Sheikh Jarrah is ethnic cleansing by expelling families that have a history in this neighborhood,” Meshaal told an event in Morocco titled “Jerusalem and the Promise of the Hereafter”, organized by the Moroccan Association for the Support of the Ummah Causes.
The Hamas leader said Jerusalem will never surrender to the “Zionist invaders”.
“The Ummah (nation) will prevail and its enemies will be defeated despite all the suffering it is going through and attempts to divide it,” he added.
“There is no life for us without Jerusalem,” Meshaal told the audience. “Jerusalem is not a political, religious, spiritual, and civilizational capital, but rather it is the past, present, and future, and it is the land that God has promised us to be the land of decisiveness with the Zionists in the first and last round.”
Palestinians in Jerusalem have in recent days protested in solidarity with the residents of Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood amid clashes with Israeli police.
The protests came amid Israeli plans to evict Palestinians in the neighborhood from their homes and hand them over to settlement associations.
More than 290 Palestinians have been injured in clashes with Israeli forces in Jerusalem since Friday.
Israel occupied East Jerusalem, where Al-Aqsa Mosque compound is located, during the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. It annexed the entire city in 1980, in a move never recognized by the international community.
*Writing by Ibrahim Mukhtar in Ankara