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Two Palestinian families due to be evicted by Israeli authorities in Sheikh Jarrah, Occupied East Jerusalem

15th March 2009, Sheikh Jarrah, Occupied East Jerusalem: Two Palestinian families, consisting of 51 people, are to be evicted from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah, occupied East Jerusalem

At 12am on Sunday, 15th March, eviction orders, issued by an Israeli court, will begin for two housing units in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem. These housing units belong to the Al-Ghawe and Hanun families.

These orders are valid until the 22nd of March.

The Al-Ghawe famiy consist of 34 residents while the Hanun family household includes 17 people.

In 2002, both the Al-Ghawe and Hanun families were evicted from their homes by Israeli police, after Israeli settlers used falsified documents to claim ownership of these houses.

Family members lived in tents for four months before returning to their homes. The families were able to present their documents
proving their legal ownership before the courts on the 19th of February, but the eviction orders still remain in effect.

The Israelis don’t want me on this land. The ownership documents from the settlers are false, but there is no fairness in the Israeli courts for Palestinians. I was born here in my house, where I have lived for all of the 46 years of my life. Where do they want me to go? I haven’t any other place to live -Nasser Ghawe, Sheikh Jarrah resident

This is an ethnic cleaning that will eventually spread to all of Jerusalem. We are asking all people everywhere to unify against what is going on here and stand firm in the face of evictions. These families legally own their homes, and they should be allowed to stay -Rima Essa, Coalition for Jerusalem

International Human Rights Workers will be staying with the families in solidarity with the protest against these evictions.

The Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood became symbolic in it’s struggle against the ethnic cleansing of occupied East Jerusalem in the run-up to the violent eviction of the al-Kurd family on the 9th November. A protest camp was established initially to show support for the evicted family and the 500 other Palestinians who are under threat of eviction. Israeli forces have demolished the camp four times.

The house had become emblematic of the plight of Palestinian residents of Occupied East Jerusalem. The al-Kurd family were previously made refugees from Jaffa and West Jerusalem. They were then made refugees for the second time as they were evicted from their home of 52 years.

In July the US State Department brought forward an official complaint to the Israeli government over the eviction of the al-Kurd family, openly questioning the legality of terms on which the Israeli Jewish settler group claimed to have purchased the land.

In the near-by Bustan area of Silwan, 88 houses have been served with demolition orders, threatening the homes of 1,500 Palestinians.

According to The Guardian, a confidential EU report accuses the Israeli government of using settlement expansion, house demolitions, discriminatory housing policies and the West Bank barrier as a way of “actively pursuing the illegal annexation” of East Jerusalem.