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Sheikh Jarrah demonstrates against settler takeover and demolition

27 July 2009

Israeli police arrested the woman on the right.

Israeli police arrested the woman on the right.

At 4pm today Sheikh Jarrah demonstrated against the Israeli settler takeover and partial demolition of the Darwish Hijazi home yesterday.

The day began with a meeting held in Sheikh Jarrah’s Um Kamal protest tent, which has become a powerful symbol of Palestinian steadfastness in face of the Israeli ethnic cleansing of Jerusalem, and international Human Rights Workers (HRWs) heard moving stories from local residents whose houses are under threat of demolition. From there, around 30 demonstrators accompanied by HRWs marched on the Hijazi house to find Israeli settlers on the stolen land. The protesters attempted to gain access to the property, only to be initially denied by settler security and Israeli police, and then a large deployment of Israeli Police and Border Police.

The protesters remained at the site, chanting and demanding the settlers leave the property. The Border police later began to attack the crowd, pushing and kicking protesters as they lay on the ground. One Palestinian woman was arrested.

As of 7.30pm, the protest has disbanded but HRWs remain with Mair Hasan, the head of a nearby household who has just today been issued with orders that he must vacate his property for two weeks, starting from 8.30pm tonight, keeping a distance of at least 1km from the home. He is married and has 5 children.

The case of Sheikh Jarrah

The Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in East Jerusalem was built by the UN and Jordanian government in 1956 to house Palestinian refugees from the 1948 war. However, with the the start of the Israeli occupation of East Jerusalem, following the 1967 war, settlers began claiming ownership of the land the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood was build on.

Stating that they had purchased the land from a previous Ottoman owner in the 1800s, settlers claimed ownership of the land. In 1972 settlers successfully registered this claim with the Israeli Land Registrar.

The 28 families face eviction from their homes. In November 2008, the al-Kurd family was violently evicted from their home in Sheikh Jarrah. Two weeks thereafter, Mohammad al-Kurd died from a stress induced heart attack.

Currently, the Hannoun and the al-Ghawe families face eviction from their Sheikh Jarrah homes. However, all 28 families are battling eviction in Israeli court.