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Palestinian activist criticizes attempts to clean up forced displacement in Sheikh Jarrah

A Palestinian activist who was recently arrested and released by Israeli forces said on Monday that the international community must cut short the propaganda and identify the continued eviction of Palestinian families in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem for what it is. really.

Mohammed el-Kurd, who from childhood protested against the Israeli occupation with his twin sister, Muna el-Kurd, spoke to Mehdi Hasan of Peacock TV, among others, that the 23-year-old siblings were unwittingly becoming the global face of Palestinian resistance and thus be the target of Israeli forces.

Mohammed and Muna el-Kurd were both temporarily detained by Israeli military forces on Sunday for leading protests against settlers who attempted to forcefully evict dozens of Palestinian families from their homes in Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan neighborhoods. -Is busy. Although the el-Kurds have spent most of their lives nonviolently documenting their struggles as Palestinians in Sheikh Jarrah, the brother and sister went viral separately last month for their activism.

“There are hundreds and hundreds of Palestinians working tirelessly on the ground – journalists in particular, and doctors and activists doing the same,” el-Kurd told Hasan. “We are very grateful for the reach, and we hope our voices can amplify the Palestinian cause and the Palestinian liberation struggle, but I also want to highlight the hundreds of Palestinians who have been arrested over the past week, the dozens. who were arrested right after my release. It is not an anomaly. It doesn’t start or end with my sister and myself.

El-Kurd said the arrests are a “clear intimidation tactic” following what he called a “mass campaign of incarceration in the name of law and order” by Israeli forces to repress any resistance to “colonial violence through home evictions”. or house demolitions or bombing of innocent civilians.

The deportations are what helped spark the deadly 11-day attack on Gaza last month. But although Israel agreed to a ceasefire with Gaza militant group Hamas, the Israeli government continued its campaign to move Palestinian families to East Jerusalem. The campaign is part of a system of Israeli laws aimed at increasing the number of Jews and decreasing the number of Palestinians in Israel and the occupied territories – a system that several human rights groups say matches to the definition of apartheid.

Marcus Yam / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Israeli security forces threw stun grenades on Sunday to disperse a crowd gathered for a press conference calling for the release of Muna el-Kurd and Mohammed el-Kurd, two prominent activists from the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in East Jerusalem.

Israeli settlers have led decades-long efforts to evict families from the densely populated Palestinian neighborhoods of the so-called sacred basin just outside the walls of the Old City. Two Jewish religious associations bought the land now known as Sheikh Jarrah in the late 19th century, but never built on it.

During the 1948 war that followed the creation of Israel, Jordan took possession of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, including Sheikh Jarrah. Because the war resulted in what is known as the Nakba – when an estimated 700,000 Palestinians fled or were evicted from their homes due to Israel’s independence – Jordan used the land now known as Sheikh Jarrah to settle Palestinian refugees and built houses there for 28 Palestinian families in 1956.

During the 1967 war, Israel captured and annexed East Jerusalem in a move that violated international law. The Israeli Knesset, or parliament, passed a law just three years later that allowed Jews who fled or were expelled from East Jerusalem in 1948 to reclaim their land – a right denied to Palestinians who fled or been expelled from Israel during the same war. This means that Israeli Jews can register as Sheikh Jarrah’s landowners, but Palestinian refugees living there cannot do the same for their pre-1948 property, resulting in forced evictions.

In February, the Jerusalem District Court ruled that residents of four houses in Sheikh Jarrah – six families and 27 people could be forcibly evicted. The families have appealed in the case which is now before the Israeli Supreme Court, which has delayed a decision but has scheduled a hearing for July 20. Israel’s Attorney General on Monday said he would not intervene in the case, as human rights and civil rights groups say it does not work positive for other Palestinian families who have been threatened with eviction.

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said Palestinians led by Sheikh Jarrah should settle the issue of their forced displacement in Israeli courts. But such an idea is “inconceivable”, according to Mohammed el-Kurd.

“It is inconceivable for us to seek justice from our attackers,” he said. “I think the international community must hold Israel accountable and end its impunity. “

The el-Kurd family lost half of their property to settlers in 2009 after the two Jewish associations sold Sheikh Jarrah to a group of settlers belonging to the American company Nahalat Shimon International. Palestinian residents of Sheikh Jarrah reported experiencing violence and intimidation from new settlers. Now the el-Kurds risk being evicted from the other half of their property.

“It is very clear that the Israeli propaganda machine, whether it is the attorney general or people funded by the Israeli government, have gone to great lengths to present this as a ‘land dispute’, as a ‘real estate dispute’. “, to depoliticize the state-sanctioned ethnic cleansing that is happening for us in Sheikh Jarrah, for the people in Silwan, for the people in Isawiya, for the people in Jaffa, for the people in Lifta,” el -Kurd on “The Mehdi Hasan Show”.

“But it’s not apolitical. What is happening is very political, because if it were not political, the Israeli occupation forces would not have assaulted and arrested journalists, removing medics from the scene. You wouldn’t want them to detain Palestinian activists like my sister and myself. You also wouldn’t want prominent right-wing Israeli politicians to set up their offices in Sheikh Jarrah. It is therefore clearly a legalized means of ethnic cleansing. This is also happening in Silwan, where people are not dispossessed by the settler organizations registered in the United States, they are dispossessed by the Israeli occupation municipality itself. Just because you can legalize an evil act does not mean that it is less evil.


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