Jerusalem24 – Mohammad Hamayel – Last May, the situation in Israel and Palestine escalated when Hamas fired rockets into Israel as a response to Israeli policy displacing Palestinians in Jerusalem as well as the storming of the alAqsa Mosque by the Israeli police who attacked the worshippers there. Despite a cease-fire, the situation in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood hasn’t changed much.
In fact, the neighborhood is currently closed off. The Israeli police and military had placed cement blocks and metal barricades, barring Palestinian non-residents from entering the neighborhood, while giving access to Israeli settlers. Meanwhile, settler attacks against Palestinians in the neighborhood have been non-stop. For example, on Tuesday the 22nd of June, right wing Israeli Knesset member, “Bezalel Smotrich” from the Religious Zionism Party entered the neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, and tried to enter Al-Kurd family home with the protection of the police.
Yesterday, June 27th, Israeli forces attacked and arrested two Palestinian girls from the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood. Three Palestinians were also injured, as a result of an attack by a number of settlers on the Abdel Latif family in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of Jerusalem, on Saturday evening. The Red Crescent crews rescued and treated two of them in the field, and the third was transferred to Al-Makassed Hospital for treatment. Earlier, the Israeli police arrested the son of lawyer Samir Abdel Latif and later released him. The neighborhood has witnessed increased tensions and settler violence in recent weeks as the next court hearing edges closer next month July. A few days before that, an Israeli settler attacked some Palestinians using pepper spray.
While the neighborhood faces daily attacks at the hands of the Israeli settlers and police forces, another battle regarding the neighborhood is taking place in the Israeli Central Court in Jerusalem.
On Monday, June 7th, the Israeli Attorney General decided not to interfere in the displacement case of 7 families in the neighborhood. According to a statement published by the Sheikh Jarrah defense committee, the attorney said “Based on the documents of the legal file, which I received from the different parties and based on the legal path “proceeding” in the courts, about the land ownership dispute, and based on the facts on the ground and the legal issues that have been discussed in the legal proceeding. The General Attorney reached a conclusion that there is no space to interfere or give an opinion, according to the mandate he was granted.” The position that the attorney general took dealt a serious blow towards the case of the families. The Israeli High court decided that a hearing about the force displacement families of Sheikh Jarrah should be held before the court vacation, on the 20th of July.
12 Palestinian households – one household from the Fawzia al Kurd family, three households from the Hanoun family, seven from al Ghawi family, and one from the al Kurd family – have already been forcibly evicted from homes in 2008 and 2009, in which they had lived for three generations. These families had moved to Sheikh Jarrah after they had been displaced in 1948 from their villages and cities of origin now located in Israel and, for months, slept on the street in small, hastily constructed tents. Another 8 families, 19 households, have received eviction orders.