In the neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah in East Jerusalem, 28 Families are facing the threat of eviction from their homes. In a process of Judaisation of East Jerusalem, Israel aims to erase the presence of 28 Palestinian families by forcefully evicting them from their homes. Israeli settlers have already occupied half the house of the Al Kurd family to enforce this policy of ethnic cleansing. The 24-hour presence of international solidarity activists has been organised for the last two months in the hope of offering support for the Al Kurds family home.
The neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah was constructed to house 28 refugee families that fled the violence of the 1948 war. This housing project was built by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) and the Jordanian Government in 1956. With the Israeli occupation following the 1967 war, settlers started claiming ownership of the land the neighbourhood was built on.
After long legal proceedings it was proved in 2006 the settlers did not, in fact, own the land and had produced false documents to support their claims. In 2001, however, settlers had already occupied half of the Al Kurds family home. Fearing settlers would expand into more houses in the neighbourhood, the Al Kurds family and the neighbourhood as a whole asked for help from local and international Human Rights groups. Since then, a 24-hour presence of Human Rights worker has delayed the further expansion of the settlers into other Palestinian homes.
Although an Israeli Supreme Court eviction order for the removal of the settlers from the Al Kurds family home has been issued on 25/02/2007, no action has been taken by the Israeli government. The neighbourhood has taken the settlers, part of the settler investment company Nahlat Shemoun, to court again. Today the court ruled in favour of the Al-Kurd family again.
The threat of ethnic cleansing Sheikh Jarrah faces is part of a larger Israeli project to increase the Jewish population of East Jerusalem. Although East Jerusalem is internationally recognized as located in the occupied Palestinian West Bank, it has been excluded from the West Bank by the construction of the illegal Apartheid Wall. As a result of Israeli policies, the Palestinian population of East Jerusalem has already decreased by 25%. If successful, the result of the ethnic cleansing of the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood will be the annexation of East Jerusalem by Israel. Then, Israel will claim an undivided Jerusalem as their capital.