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Evictions in Sheikh Jarrah

July 27th 2009

Three MPTers joined several Palestinian, Israeli, and international activists at a demonstration held outside the Darwish Hijazi home in Sheikh Jarrah, in occupied East Jerusalem, to protest the destruction as well as the current settler occupation of the home. Settlers had broken into the home the preceding day and started to destroy the house from the inside out. The Palestinian homeowner had died about a month earlier, leaving the home empty and without protection. Israeli forces had arrested several individuals, including the former Minister of Jerusalem Affairs, Hatim Abdul Qader, when they tried to block the settlers from entering the home.

MPT was informed that the Israeli High Court had issued a stop order to the settlers that were building on the land. However, the settlers did not stop building. According to the International Solidarity Movement, the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in East Jerusalem was built by the United Nations and the Jordanian government in 1956 to house Palestinian Refugees from the 1948 war.

(An armed settler standing in front of the house)

(A Palestinian boy who lives in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood holding a sign to protest the occupation of his neighborhood)

(The settlers remained inside the house during the protest. In this picture you can see the settlers have continued to build on the property despite the Court's injunction to stop.)

(Israeli forces and settler security pushing back the crowd of protesters)

When MPT arrived at the entrance to the home, it was heavily guarded by settler security personnel. Shortly after the demonstration began, an abundance of Israeli police arrived and began to push the demonstrators away from the home. Different slogans were chanted throughout the protest including, “ 1-2-3-4, occupation no more, 5-6-7-8 Palestine a free State”. More Israeli police, including border police, continued to arrive until there were more than 25 police on site. Two hours into the protest, one Israeli protester was arrested, while the settlers remained in the home. MPT remained at the demonstration for another hour and a half. By the time MPT left, the demonstration had largely quieted down.

Just as they were leaving the neighborhood, MPT was called to come quickly to another home in Sheikh Jarrah. Upon arrival at the second home, MPT was informed that around 50 settlers had climbed a wall and tried to jump into the home of a Palestinian family. MPT alongside other internationals stayed to prevent the settlers from climbing the wall again.

(Group of settlers argue after trying to enter the Palestinian's home)

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