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Sheikh Jarrah families continue to face harassment from settlers occupying Palestinian houses

14 December 2009

The Jewish settler group that has taken over several houses in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood in occupied East Jerusalem continues to harass the Palestinian residents and vandalise Palestinian property. In the past two days alone there were numerous incidents displaying an extreme disregard for the human and legal rights of others.

In the night of Sunday 13 December 2009, settlers spray-painted on the back part of the Kurd family house, adjacent to the front part which is occupied by settlers since 1 December.

In the morning, settlers occupying the front part of the Kurd family house sprayed water through the window onto two young girls in the Kurd family. This was the second time they have done this.

In the afternoon, settlers attempted to spray-paint a message on the Qassem family home wall. However, they were interrupted and stopped as they were discovered by international activists. The Qassem family
home is adjacent to the occupied Ghawi home and opposite the street to the occupied Kurd house.

Also in the afternoon, a settler in the occupied Kurd house threw a bag of trash into the garden of the Kurd family and attempted to steal a plastic pipe that he found in the yard. The theft-in-progress was discovered and stopped by family father Nabeel Kurd. Not long after, the same settler walked across the street to the occupied Ghawi house and subsequently returned to the occupied Kurd house carrying a stick, and when passing an international activist in the gate to the Kurd property the settler threateningly jabbed with the stick towards the throat of the activist.

In the evening, settlers occupying the front part of the Kurd family house sprayed water through the window, this time on Kurd family belongings that were thrown out during the 1 December take over and
are now stored outside the window.

On Monday 14 December 2009 at 4am, one of the settlers sneaked close to the Kurd family tent and drew with a black felt-tip pen onto the plastic canvas. The settler stopped and returned to the occupied Kurd
house upon discovery by an international activist. A private settler security guard was immediately notified about the vandalism but failed to find the settler inside the house.

At 8am, another settler spray-painted on the Kurd family home wall, while two of this friends kept look-out (one being the one who drew on the tent).

While the recent actions of the settlers haven’t been extremely violent, their persistance is aimed at making the life of the Palestinian familes as difficult as possible. A day doesn’t pass for the Palestinians without the settlers subjecting them to constant harassment and, in some cases, violence.


Approximately 475 Palestinian residents living in the Karm Al-Ja’ouni neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, located directly north of the Old City, face imminent eviction from their homes in the manner of the Hannoun and Gawi families, and the al-Kurd family before them. All 28 families are refugees from 1948, mostly from West Jerusalem and Haifa, whose houses in Sheikh Jarrah were built and given to them through a joint project between the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) and the Jordanian government in 1956.

The ultimate goal of the settler organizations is to evict all Palestinians from the area and turn it into a new Jewish settlement and to create a Jewish continuum that will effectively cut off the Old City form the northern Palestinian neighborhoods. On 28 August 2008, Nahalat Shimon International filed a plan to build a series of five and six-story apartment blocks – Town Plan Scheme (TPS) 12705 – in the Jerusalem Local Planning Commission. If TPS 12705 comes to pass, the existing Palestinian houses in this key area would be demolished, about 500 Palestinians would be evicted, and 200 new settler units would be built for a new settlement: Shimon HaTzadik.

Implanting new Jewish settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank is illegal under many international laws, including Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. The plight of the Gawi, al-Kurd and the Hannoun families is just a small part of Israel’s ongoing campaign of ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people from East Jerusalem.