26 November 2009
On Thursday, November 26, 2009 at 1:00am, five settlers and settler security, who are currently occupying the Gawi family house in Sheikh Jarrah, attempted to take over a section of a house belonging to the Palestinian al-Kurd family.
The Israeli police were alerted immediately, however, before they managed to arrive, the settlers started attacking the Palestinians living in the house. One settler violently pushed a member of the al-Kurd family, Maysa, against a wall and thereafter grabbed her son, Munjad, by the lapel. After their arrival and a long discussion with the al-Kurd family concerning the legal status of the house, the Israeli police reluctantly escorted the settlers out.
As a result of the tumult, Refka Kurd, 85, suffered a stroke. She was taken to a hospital and is in stable condition.
This is the third settler incursion into the al-Kurd family house in
the last three weeks. Both the border police, equipped with automatic weapons, and the Israeli police who arrived at the scene, seemed to have been convinced about the settlers’ right to enter the house and determined to allow them to remain on the premises. After a long discussion with the family and the settlers, who claimed to have legal documents giving them the right to enter the house, the Israeli forces ordered the settlers to leave. These documents do not grant any explicit right to the settlers to enter and remain in the al-Kurd property.
As the Israeli police escorted the intruders back to the house of the Palestinian Gawi family, occupied by the settlers since the forceful take-over in August, the heated exchange that ensued agitated Refka Kurd who then suffered a stroke confirmed by a CT scan.
The recent escalation of violent settler incursions has created an unbearable and dangerous situation for the Palestinian family and, as result, forced the al-Kurd children to sleep at their grandmother’s house, outside of Sheikh Jarrah.
Following the incursion, the settler who assaulted the two family members filed a complaint at a local police station, claiming that it was the al-Kurds, who attacked him. In contrast, Maysa and Munjad were not allowed to file a complaint concerning the violence inflicted upon them. “The settler filed a complaint claiming that I attacked him. I went to the police station to file a complaint, but was unable to, because they would not allow my lawyer to accompany me,” said Munjad.
The al-Kurds have become the fourth Sheikh Jarrah family whose house (or part of it) has been occupied by settlers in the last year. So far, 60 people have been left homeless. In total, 28 families living in the Karm Al-Ja’ouni neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah, located directly north of the Old City, face imminent eviction from their homes.
In a strategic plan, settlers have been utilizing discriminatory laws to expand their presence in Occupied East Jerusalem. Palestinians, who face difficulties in acquiring building permits from the municipality, are often left with no legal recourse for extending their homes to accompany their growing families. The Israeli authorities exercise their abilities to demolish and evict Palestinian residents, while ignoring building violations from the Israeli population in East Jerusalem.