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Settlers attack Palestinian family in Sheikh Jarrah

21 December 2009

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Another settler attack on a family in Sheikh Jarrah on Monday 21 December leaves the family with two broken windows and fear of future attacks.

After dark on Monday 21 December 2009 a group of around 40 settlers gathered outside the Ftyaney family house. At about 7pm the settlers began throwing stones at the windows of the Ftyaney home. They then threatened the mother of the family who was at home with her three daughters.

The Ftyaney family lives in a house directly beneath the garden of the house of Fawzia and Muhammed al-Kurd which is now occupied by Israeli settlers. On Monday evening Rema, the mother of the family, heard stones striking her front gate and she rushed to the door only to realize that 40 settlers were attacking the house. When the settlers saw her in the door they started to scream at her that she should bring out her sons. No men were present in the house since the father of the family was at work. Rema called the Israeli police. They keep a 24 hour presence in the neighbourhood, but still took 15 minutes to arrive. When Rema talked to the police the settlers shouted at them, “don’t talk to the woman!”

One of Rema’s daughters was too afraid to sleep after the attack. The family has been attacked several times, the last time a month ago and Rema explained that it is not unusual; there are Palestinians being attacked by settlers every day in the neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah.

Fawzia and Muhammed al-Kurd were evicted from their home in Sheikh Jarrah on 8 November 2008. Since the eviction, settlers have moved into their home and the violence against the Palestinian residence in the neighbourhood has increased. At least two other attacks on Palestinian residents of Sheikh Jarrah have taken place in the past five days. On Friday a mother of six was violently attacked in the street outside her home. When her sons came to her assistance the settlers threw stones at them and injured two. They had to be taken to the hospital. On Sunday a little girl was attacked in the street by a settler. Palestinians living in Sheikh Jarrah are also subject to other forms of harassment from settlers. Garbage and stones are regularly thrown down in the garden of the Ftyaney family from the occupied house of the al-Kurds.

The displacements in Karm Al-Ja’ouni (where the Ftyaney family lives) are part of a larger settlement project. Areas targeted in Sheikh Jarrah include Kubanyat Im Haroun, the Shepherd Hotel, Karm el-Mufti and the Planned Amana HQ. Other Palestinian neighbourhoods of East Jerusalem that are affected by settlement expansion include Silwan and the Mount of Olives. The United Nations already raised concerns about the humanitarian consequences of the illegal settlements in Sheikh Jarrah in August 2009. The Office for the Co-ordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) called for the immediate end to forced evictions and house demolitions and the displacement of Palestinian communities.

Despite these attacks, residents of Sheikh Jarrah continue to support each other. On Wednesday 23 residents will have a Christmas dinner in the neighbourhood. On Friday, a regular demonstration against ethnic cleansing and house evictions will start at 2pm in Sheikh Jarrah.