Jerusalem [Israel], May 10 (ANI): Amid violent clashes in East Jerusalem, the Israeli Supreme Court has delayed a hearing scheduled for Monday that could have determined whether four Palestinian families in the city's Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood will be evicted.
According to The Times of Israel, Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit's office asked the Supreme Court for two weeks to consider the matter after the families asked him to become a party to the case.
The court gave time to Mandelblit until June 8 to consider whether he will become a party to the case. The planned evictions will not go forward in that period of time.
"A new date will be determined within the next 30 days. In the meantime, until further notice, I order a freeze on the decision by the appellate court, which does not imply any position regarding [that lower court's decision]," Justice Yitzhak Amit wrote in the ruling.
Over 70 Palestinians in total are set to be evicted from Sheikh Jarrah in the coming weeks to be replaced by right-wing Jewish Israelis. The Palestinians live in houses built on land that courts have ruled were owned by Jewish religious associations before the establishment of Israel in 1948, reported The Times of Israel.
The city has been embroiled in intense chaos as Palestinians have clashed with Israeli police, with both sides blaming the other for igniting the confrontations.
Over 300 Palestinians have been injured in the riots, several of them seriously hurt by rubber-tipped bullets in the head, eye and jaw, according to the Palestinian Red Crescent. Over 20 Israeli officers were largely injured.
Mandelblit submitted an affidavit to the Supreme Court, wherein he mentioned opinions from senior Israeli security officials warning that evicting the families could lead to escalating tensions between Israelis and Palestinians.
"This case evokes sensitivities in other aspects, and as such, the attorney general will ask to present to the court an ex parte affidavit from relevant policymakers and professionals in a sealed envelope," his office told the Supreme Court.
Meanwhile, two major Palestinian political movements -- Fatah and the Hamas terror group -- warned that they will respond should Israeli authorities evict the families.
"If the aggression against our people in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood does not stop immediately, we will not stand idly by," warned Mohammad Beif, a leader of the Hamas' armed wing.
The Times of Israel reported that Jerusalem has seen heightened tensions between Palestinians and Israeli security forces since the beginning of Ramadan in mid-April.
Hundreds of Palestinians protested police restrictions on gathering near Damascus Gate in late April, leading to violent clashes with cops, dozens of injuries and arrests. (ANI)