Israeli forces have evicted the Hanoun and al-Ghawe families from their Sheikh Jarrah homes.
At around 5:30 in the morning, Israeli police arrived at the Hannoun family home and broke into the house through the windows. They forcefully removed Maher Hanoun, his wife Nadia and their 3 children.
The police violently separated the family from the international and Israeli solidarity activists that were staying in the home. Police then arrested the international and Israeli solidarity activists that were staying with the family.
Similarly, Israeli police came into the al-Ghawe family home at 5:30am and removed the family and internationals staying in the home.
Settlers arrived with a truck and began to move the al-Gwahe Hannoun family possessions out of their home. Everyone outside of the house was forced across the street, away from the house.
According to eyewitnesses, Israeli forces beat a Palestinian male who was trying to intervene when police were yelling at an elderly Palestinian woman. Additionally, media personnel were pushed around by police when they were trying to get close to the evicted Sheikh Jarrah homes.
Amongst those arrested are at least 7 international activists and 1 Israeli activist. They are scheduled to be brought to court in Jerusalem at 11am.
"Despite condemnation from the international community about the evictions of my neighborhood, Sheikh Jarrah, the Israeli government continues to pursue the ethnic cleansing of East Jerusalem. Many family were refugees from 1948 and now we have become refugees again. We were forced out of homes to make way for settlers, contrary to international law.
The legal case that residents presented in court included an Ottoman-era document which discounts the settler associations claim of ownership over Sheikh Jarrah land and homes. But the unjust policies of Israel to judaize East Jerusalem render our legal proof of ownership irrelevant." ~ Maher Hannoun, Palestinian resident of Sheikh Jarrah
"I woke up to the sound of a brick through the front window. By the time I could get up, I was being pushed out the door by Israeli forces. They wouldn't allow me to take my wheelchair and were physically violent towards me and the others in the Hannoun house.
The unjust policies of the Israeli government are not just written documents, they affect real families. The government has made the Hannoun and al-Ghawe families homeless, and their only crime is being Palestinian in a system that is racist against them." ~ Jody McIntyre, a British solidarity activist
Maher Hannoun (Arabic, Hebrew & English) 050.527.7896
Jody McIntyre (English) 054.708.2389
ISM Media office (English & Russian) 054.903.2981
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 built on.
The 28 families of Sheikh Jarrah 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.
In 2004 Nadav Shargai from Ha'aretz reported that: "A process of Judaization has already begun . The compound is currently, and gradually, being cleared of its Arab population by means of legal procedures." (http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/pages/ShArt.jhtml?
Israeli policemen stand guard as Jewish settlers enter a Palestinian house following the eviction of the family that used to live there
Families from Occupied Jerusalem
August 2, 2009
Israeli police evicted two families in eastern Jerusalem to clear the way for Jews to move in. The occupation police kicked out two Palestinian families from their homes in occupied east Jerusalem after a court rejected an appeal against their eviction.
Israeli occupation police are still continuing their evictions policy and the settlement plans in occupied East Jerusalem, brushing aside all the objections of the international community that say that these settlements are legal.
Large numbers of Israeli police were involved in the operation in Sheikh Jarrah, one of the most sensitive and upmarket Arab neighborhoods closest to the so-called Green Line which separates occupied east and west Jerusalem.
The action, which is to allow Israeli families to set up home in the neighborhood, was condemned by the British consulate in occupied Jerusalem and comes amid international calls for Israel to halt settlement activity on occupied Palestinian land.
The evictions come after Jerusalem city authorities gave permission for the building of about 20 housing units on the site in Sheikh Jarrah, triggering an international outcry.
The British consulate, which is located in Sheikh Jarrah along with other foreign missions, said it was “appalled” by the Israeli action. “The Israelis’ claim that the imposition of extremist Jewish settlers into this ancient Arab neighborhood is a matter for the courts or the municipality is unacceptable,” it said in a statement. “These actions are incompatible with the Israeli professed desire for peace. We urge Israel not to allow the extremists to set the agenda.”
Protesters condemned the evictions, which come as the United States, other foreign governments and international organizations call on Israel to stop building in areas beyond Israel's pre-1967 borders.
Jewish families began moving in shortly after the evictions, according to reports.
As some settlers carried boxes containing the belongings of the expelled families to a truck, others moved into the houses holding drills, shovels and ladders.
Police clashed with protesters and detained around 10 people as border guards and an ambulance were seen nearby.
"We are all afraid of being kicked out," said Amal Kassem, a Sheikh Jarrah resident for more than five decades.
She said Jewish settlers were holding "fake title deeds" to homes which the Palestinians obtained in line with a deal struck between Jordan and the UN agency for refugees in 1956, when Jordan had jurisdiction over the area.
Senior Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat expressed his outrage.
"Israel is once again showing its utter failure to respect international law," he told reporters.
"New settlers from abroad are accommodating themselves and their belongings in the Palestinian houses and 19 newly homeless children will have nowhere to sleep."
UN agencies and the British consulate condemned the Israeli action.
"I deplore the totally unacceptable actions by Israel in which Israeli security forces evicted Palestinian refugee families registered with UNWRA from their homes in the Arab neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah to allow settlers to take possession of their properties," said Richard Miron of the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process.
UNRWA, the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees, said the evictions were "unacceptable and deplorable."
The British consulate, which is located in Sheikh Jarrah along with a number of other foreign missions, echoed the view.
"The Israelis' claim that the imposition of extremist Jewish settlers into this ancient Arab neighbourhood is a matter for the courts or the municipality is unacceptable," it said in a statement.
"These actions are incompatible with the Israeli professed desire for peace. We urge Israel not to allow the extremists to set the agenda."
Israel captured east Jerusalem in the 1967 and later annexed it in a move not recognized by the international community.
It sees all of Jerusalem as its "eternal, undivided" capital and does not consider construction in east Jerusalem to be settlement activity.
The Palestinians want to make the east of the city ~ home to some 200,000 Jewish Israelis and 268,000 Palestinians ~ the capital of their future state.
August 2, 2009
The United Nations special coordinator for Mideast peace condemned Israel’s decision to evict 50 Palestinians from their homes in East Jerusalem on Sunday.
“I deplore today's totally unacceptable actions by Israel,” the official, Richard Serry, said in a statement to Ma’an.
Serry alleged that Israel removed the Palestinians, refugees registered with the UN, from their homes to make way for settlers wanting to take control of their property. “These actions are contrary to the provisions of the Geneva Conventions related to occupied territory.”
“They also contravene the united calls of the international community, including the Quartet, which in its recent statement urged the Government of Israel to refrain from provocative actions in East Jerusalem, including house demolitions and evictions,” he noted.
Israel’s High Court had issued a ruling earlier last week that the two homes belonged to Jewish citizens, and has in the past ruled that Palestinian East Jerusalem is part of Israel. Both families had produced the correct paperwork to show that these homes had been given to them by the UN and Jordan in 1956.
Serry disagreed, noting that “[t]he United Nations rejects Israel's claims that this is a matter for municipal authorities and domestic courts.”
“These actions heighten tensions and undermine international efforts to create conditions for fruitful negotiations to achieve peace,” he said, calling on Israel to adhere to international law and its Road Map obligations.
He said Israel must “cease and reverse such provocative and unacceptable actions in East Jerusalem.”