18 November 2009
On Wednesday 18 November 2009 at 10:30am, one of the settlers who are occupying the Ghawi family house in Sheikh Jarrah, climbed over a wall in order to enter the neighbouring Palestinian property. Amal Qassem, who lives in the house, was shocked to discover the settler in her backyard and another settler handing tools and a ladder over the wall to him. They stated that they were going to repair water leaks in the wall and refused to leave.
Amal Qassem reported the trespassing to the police who arrived 30 minutes later. Only after that the settlers finally left.
Later that day, at 2pm, another two settlers living in the occupied Gawi family house, attempted to enter a Palestinian property across the street. Claiming they had the right to enter, they opened the gate leading to the house owned by the Kurd family and walked through, making their way to the half of the property which has been occupied by settler security forces since the forceful takeover on 3 November 2009. The family, who gathered outside of their house succeeded in their attempt to stop the settlers, who eventually left.
The settler’s claims to have the right to enter the house, however, contradict a verbal agreement reached with the Israeli police on 3 November 2009, the day of the house take-over, which instructed the settlers to stay away from the house and allowed their security forces to stand on the street outside the gate. Despite this agreement, settler security forces have continued to occupy the house. The al-Kurd family have asked the security forces several times to show police or court orders that give them the right to be on their property, but the security forces have failed to produce such a document. On the day after the settlers’ provocative action, an Israeli court issued a written statement that the court will reach a decision about the occupied house on 29 November.
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.