Salhiya family says Israeli police withdrew from flashpoint Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood where the family is facing the threat of illegal displacement from their home.

Salhiya family members stand on the roof of their home in Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood with gas canisters in a long standoff against the Israeli police.
Salhiya family members stand on the roof of their home in Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood with gas canisters in a long standoff against the Israeli police. (AP)

Israeli police have backed down from attempts to illegally displace Palestinians from their home in an occupied Jerusalem flashpoint district, the family said.

Family members had threatened self-immolation in response to their displacement attempts, triggering a standoff.

The Salhiya family has been facing the threat of expulsion from their home in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood of Israeli-annexed East Jerusalem since 2017, when the land where their home sits was allocated for school construction.

Anger in Sheikh Jarrah where families battled expulsion orders fuelled an 11-day war between Israel and Palestinian factions in besieged Gaza last year.

When police arrived to carry out the eviction order on Monday, Salhiya family members went up to the building's roof with gas canisters, threatening to set the contents and themselves alight if they were forced out of their home.

An hours-long standoff ensued, during which a delegation of European diplomats visited the site. Sven Kuehn von Burgsdorff, head of the European Union's mission to the occupied West Bank and Gaza, told AFP news agency on Monday that "in occupied territory, evictions are a violation of international humanitarian law".

By Tuesday, police sent for the displacement of Palestinians had already been removed but children of the Salhiya family remained on the roof with the gas canisters, their father Mahmud told AFP.

According to him, no agreement or understandings had been reached, but lawyers for the family filed a petition to the supreme court on Tuesday to cancel the expulsion order.

READ MORE: Palestinian threatens to set himself on fire over Israeli eviction order

Hundreds facing expulsion

Dozens of supporters were meanwhile camped out in small bonfire vigils in the vicinity of the home, an AFP reporter said.

In a Tuesday statement to AFP, the municipality of occupied Jerusalem stressed the Salhiya family had numerous opportunities to move out of their home, deemed illegal, and the city had every intention of taking the plot under a district court decision.

Hundreds of Palestinians are facing illegal removal from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah and other East Jerusalem neighbourhoods. 

Palestinians say their homes were legally purchased from Jordanian authorities who controlled East Jerusalem between 1948 and 1967.

The Salhiya case was a totally different story, according to deputy Jerusalem mayor Fleur Hassan-Nahoum.

In a Tuesday briefing she said the plot they claim as theirs was in fact originally "owned by Arab private owners, and certain neighbourhood chiefs."

READ MORE: Palestinians reject Israel court compromise on Sheikh Jarrah evictions

Illegal control on Palestinian lands

Israel captured East Jerusalem in the 1967 Six-Day War and later annexed it, in a move not recognised by the international community.

More than 200,000 illegal Jewish settlers have since moved into the area, fuelling tensions with Palestinians, who claim East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state.

READ MORE: Israel approves more than 1,300 settlement homes in occupied West Bank

Source: AFP