Fighting Jewish colonization of East Jerusalem

Posted: March 26th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: The Left, The Settlements, the US and us, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

IMG_9687

JERUSALEM – Around 300 people gathered in an unusually cold and rainy afternoon today for the weekly protest in Sheikh Jarrah, the Arab neighborhood in Jerusalem which is the recent target of Jewish colonization. Four Arab families in Sheikh Jarrah have been already evicted to the street with settlers moving to their homes. This week it was announced that 20 more housing unites for Jews are about to be built at the site of the old Shepherds Hotel in the neighborhood.

The attempts to colonize the Arab neighborhoods of Jerusalem are backed by the city mayor, Nir Barkat, and by the Israeli government. Earlier this week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu refused president Obama’s demand to halt construction in East Jerusalem until the city’s final statues is decided.

It is important to note that while Israelis are claiming that both Jews and Arabs can live anywhere they like in the so-called unified city, Jerusalem’s Arabs are in fact forbidden from buying houses in most Jewish neighborhoods of the city, due to legal matters concerning their statues is residents, rather than citizens of Israel. You can read a full explanation for this here, and see an extremely well-prepared Sky interviewer pushing Mayor Barkat on this issue in this video:

Among the protesters today were MK Dov Khenin of left wing party Hadash, former Knesset speaker Avrum Burg, and author David Grossman. “[Political] reality has changed dramatically after Netanyahu’s meeting with Obama,” Grossman told Ynet today. “Obama has done at last what he and the US should have done a long time ago.”

For me it was my first time in Sheikh Jarrah, and on the bus there from Tel Aviv, I was pleasantly surprised to meet several friends – including the editor of a Tel Aviv local paper – who also decided to join the fight.

IMG_9676

It seemed that the international attention to what’s happening in Jerusalem had its effect, and today’s demonstration was very peaceful. Unlike in previous weeks, the police watched the protesters from the other side of the road and didn’t interfere or arrest anyone. However, we weren’t allowed to conduct a march in the neighborhood or to reach the tents of the Arabs who were evicted from their houses.

Tension in Sheikh Jerrah is still very high. Last week, after the Left’s protest, Jewish settlers damaged property and threatened Arabs in the neighborhood, and even though the police was present there in large numbers, nobody was arrested. Pro-Palestinian activists are worried that similar incidents will occur during the Pesach holyday next week, when large groups of religious right-wing people are expected to visit Sheikh Jerrah. The activists are trying to establish a 24/7 watch in the neighborhood to aid the local population and report attacks on them when they occur.

Protests in Sheikh Jerrah take place every Friday. More details here.

UPDATE: For the first time, the police arrested today one of the protesters in his house. In an Argentina-style act, Michael Sosberi, one of the leaders in the Sheik Jerrah struggle, was picked up by Jerusalem police in his home on Friday night (of all times) for “violently disrupting public order”. Just another day in The Only Democracy in the Middle East.

IMG_9674

UPDATE: For the first time, the police arrested today one of the protesters in his house. In an Argentina-style act, Michael Sosberi, one of the leaders in the Sheik Jerrah struggle, was picked up by Jerusalem police in his home on Friday night (of all times) for “disrupting public order”. Just another day in The Only Democracy in the Middle East.


2 Comments on “Fighting Jewish colonization of East Jerusalem”

  1. 1 rick said at 1:42 pm on March 26th, 2010:

    a big wow to the sky interviewer. he´s a skilled presenter, challenging phrases of politicians, pointing out what they mean.

  2. 2 Sam Nichols said at 3:06 am on March 27th, 2010:

    Great Sky video. How did you embed that video? I would love to embed it but am now savvy enough to figure it out.