[News] Sheikh Jarrah: Israeli police storm Palestinian protest over Jerusalem evictions

Anti-Imperialist News news at freedomarchives.org
Wed May 5 11:09:00 EDT 2021


https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/israel-palestine-sheikh-jarrah-jerusalem-police-storm-protest
Sheikh
Jarrah: Israeli police storm Palestinian protest over Jerusalem evictions
By Lubna Masarwa , Mustafa Abu Sneineh - May 5, 2021
------------------------------

Israeli military police stormed Palestinian houses in the Sheikh Jarrah
neighbourhood of occupied East Jerusalem on Tuesday evening, attacking
activists taking part in a sit-in solidarity protest with residents facing
imminent eviction.

Three Palestinians were arrested and six injured, local sources told Middle
East Eye. The Red Crescent reported that two Palestinians had been
hospitalised.

Since the beginning of 2020, Israeli courts have ordered the eviction of 13
Palestinian families in Sheikh Jarrah, a residential area less than a
kilometre away from the walls of the Old City of Jerusalem.

Muna al-Kurd, who was attacked on Tuesday evening, told MEE that if Israeli
police and settlers take over their houses, “then they will take the whole
neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah".

'The police attacked the residents and activists who were there in
solidarity with us. They brutally beat everyone with batons, sprayed skunk
water and dispersed people with mounted horses'

*- Abdel Fattah Iskafi, resident*

Kurd, whose brother Mahmoud owns one of the houses and was among those
arrested, called for international and Palestinian activists to stop the
eviction and stand against the Israeli settlers and police.

On Sunday, Israel’s Supreme Court ordered that the Iskafi, Kurd, Jaanoi and
Qassem families - consisting of 30 adults and 10 children - evacuate their
homes by 6 May.

The court gave the Hammad, Dagani and Daoudi families living in the same
area until 1 August to evacuate.

[image: Sheikh Jarrah]

Abdel Fattah Iskafi told MEE that his family had lived in their home for
decades.

“Israeli special forces besieged Sheikh Jarrah in the evening and didn't
allow anyone from outside, especially the solidarity activists, to enter
it," he explained.

"This was after the iftar of Ramadan. There were dozens of police and
special forces, at least 60 of them, more than the whole population of
Sheikh Jarrah."

Despite the tight military cordon around the neighbourhood, activists
managed to find routes to reach the houses in the area.

“At about 11pm, the police attacked the residents and the activists who
were there in solidarity with us. They brutally beat everyone with batons,
sprayed skunk water and dispersed people with mounted horses,” Iskafi said.

Iskafi, who lives with 14 members of his extended family, including his
children and grandchildren, confirmed that they would remain in Sheikh
Jarrah despite the Supreme Court order.

“We are not going to leave our home, we will remain until the last breath.
No one can take away my memories and my heart from my home. We are not
going to move anywhere and despite the stress and tough conditions, we are
trying to continue our normal daily routine here,” Iskafi told MEE.

[image: x]
Israeli forces storm the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood of East Jerusalem on 4
May 2021 (AFP)

Iskafi is one of the Palestinian families living in homes built in Sheikh
Jarrah in 1956 with the approval of the UN agency for Palestinian refugees
(UNRWA) and the Jordanian authorities who ruled the West Bank and East
Jerusalem from 1948 until 1967, when Israel captured them.

Since Israel seized East Jerusalem in the 1967 war, Israeli settler
organisations have claimed ownership of the land in Sheikh Jarrah and have
filed multiple successful lawsuits to evict Palestinians from the
neighbourhood since 1972.

In 2002, 43 Palestinians were evicted from the area and Israeli settlers
took over their properties. In 2008, the Hanoun and Ghawi families were
evicted and in 2017 the Shamasneh family
<https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/israeli-police-evict-family-palestinians-home-50-years>
was
removed from their home by Israeli settlers.

Aref Hammad, whose family is facing eviction, and is head of the Sheikh
Jarrah neighbourhood committee, told MEE that Israeli settlers were pushing
the Palestinian residents to recognise "their ownership of the land".

“They want to make us the tenants, but this will never happen… they own
nothing and we have legal documents to prove that," said Hammad, whose
family has lived in the house since 1957.
'A political decision'

In April, Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi visited Ramallah in the
occupied West Bank to meet Palestinian Authority officials and hand over
documents proving Palestinian ownership of their properties in Sheikh
Jarrah, in a bid to prevent a new mass eviction.

"All the documents we hold on property and land in Jerusalem have been
passed on to the Palestinian Authority," Safadi said at the time, adding
that his government "found the documents proving that the [Jordanian]
Ministry of Development that built these houses had in 1956 finalised lease
agreements for homes in Sheikh Jarrah."

Palestinians in Sheikh Jarrah are families who were expelled by Zionist
militias from Arab towns and cities which became part of Israel following
the 1948 war.

<https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/israel-palestine-save-sheikh-jarrah-campaign>

Save Sheikh Jarrah: The online campaign giving hope to Palestinian refugees
in East Jerusalem

Read More »
<https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/israel-palestine-save-sheikh-jarrah-campaign>

“There is a political decision behind the eviction of Palestinians from
Sheikh Jarrah," Hammad said. "Israel has a grand strategy to connect East
and West Jerusalem, and to remove Palestinians from areas surrounding the
Old City of Jerusalem to create the so-called Holy Basin, and to build 220
settler units in the area."

Hammad has no faith in the Israeli Supreme Court.

“Oh, they have never issued a single decision in our favour. I have no high
expectation from them,” he said.

“But we hope that European Union countries who have relations with Israel
take action and put pressure on Israel to stop this crime against the
locals here."

In December
<https://www.un.org/unispal/document/local-eu-statement-on-the-imminent-risk-of-eviction-of-palestinian-families-in-east-jerusalem/>,
the EU issued a statement opposing Israel’s plan to “put all families at
imminent risk of forced transfer”.

“Israeli domestic laws, creating the basis for the claims to evict the
families, do not exempt Israel, as the occupying power, from meeting its
obligations to administer the occupied territory in a manner that provides
for and protects the local population. Israel has not acquired sovereignty
over the territory in the course of its administration,” the EU said,
followed by another statement in March
<https://www.europarl.europa.eu/delegations/en/statement-by-manu-pineda-on-the-risk-of-/product-details/20210318DPU29147>
.

Israel has illegally occupied the West Bank and East Jerusalem, including
the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood and the Old City of Jerusalem, since the
1967 war.

The latest evictions come as Jerusalem has seen heightened tensions
<https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/palestine-israel-jerusalem-damascus-gate-symbolic-tensions>
in recent weeks, with far-right Israelis staging marches calling for "Death
to Arabs" amid longstanding efforts
<https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/palestine-israel-wadi-rababa-land-bulldozers>
by Israeli authorities to expand settlements - which are illegal under
international law - in East Jerusalem.
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