2 August 2010
Today, August 2nd, marks one year since the Hanoun and al-Ghawi families were evicted from their homes in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood of East Jerusalem at 5:30 in the morning by Israeli security forces.
The families, together with their Palestinian, Israeli and international supporters will mark the date with a gathering and prayer at 10:00, followed by a march to the Jerusalem municipality. They will call for an end to the injustice of evictions and to the ethnic cleansing of Jerusalem which the Israeli legal system supports.
A community dinner will be held in the evening followed by an all-night vigil.
Existence is resistance
The eviction of the two families on August 2nd 2009 caused international outcry, and was condemned by the UN, as well as the American and British consulates.
Since then both families have maintained a presence outside their houses which are occupied by extremist Israeli settlers who moved in on the same day that Israeli police evicted the Palestinians.
For those Palestinians who remain, such as the al-Kurd family, who remain in their home despite the front part of their house having been occupied by settlers, daily verbal harassment and physical violence from the settlers is the norm.
The Israeli police also exhibit a consistently discriminatory attitude towards law enforcement, along ethnic lines, so that Palestinians can expect no protection – but instead they are frequently blamed and arrested when they are the victims of violent attacks.
The anniversary falls a few days after another Palestinian family were evicted from their home under similar circumstances, and the property, near Herod’s Gate in the Old City of Jerusalem, occupied in the same manner by Israeli settlers.
The Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in East Jerusalem – a particularly sensitive neighbourhood due to its proximity to the Green Line – was built by the UN and Jordanian government in 1956 to house Palestinian refugees from the 1948 war. However, with 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 built 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. An Israeli Supreme Court ruling was used to justify the eviction of the Hanoun and Al-Ghawi families.
Israel occupied east Jerusalem in the 1967 Six Day War and later annexed it in a move not recognized by the international community. It sees all of Jerusalem as its “eternal, undivided” capital and is attempting to alter the demographics of the east side of the city.
For many Palestinians, however, the east of the city — home to some 200,000 Jewish Israelis and 268,000 Palestinians — should be the capital of their state.
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