Families evicted from E. Jerusalem homes

Israeli police evicted two Palestinian families in east Jerusalem on Aug. 1, then allowed Jewish settlers to move into their homes, drawing criticism from Palestinians, the United Nations and the State Department.

Police arrived before dawn and cordoned off part of the Arab neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah before forcibly removing more than 50 people, said Chris Gunness, spokesman for the U.N. agency in charge of Palestinian refugees.

The police cited a ruling by the country’s Supreme Court that the houses belonged to Jews and that the Arab families had been living there illegally. Gunness said the families had lived in the homes for more than 50 years.

Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat also condemned the move. — ap