Sheikh Jarrar evictions – what you can do

December 16, 2009

Israeli policemen stand guard as Jewish settlers enter a Palestinian house following the eviction of the family that used to live there

Dear Friends
Many of you have asked me, in response to my last two reports (here and here), if there is anything you can do in a practical way. I’m attaching a letter which offers some suggestions that are not time-consuming and that may have an impact on an increasingly desperate situation. I might mention that, in addition to what is recommended there, we will soon have mounting legal expenses to cover the court cases of our activists, and that any help in this would be very welcome.
Also, we’d be very grateful if those of you who can do so would pass this letter on to others, especially to websites with wide readership.
The Sheikh Jarrah demonstrations will go on, despite all attempts by the authorities to suppress them. From what we are hearing at this point mid-week, this Friday’s march is likely to be much larger than last week’s.
We’ll keep you informed.
Best wishes and thanks,
David Shulman

Dear friends,

As many of you know from our recent reports, rather terrible things are happening in Jerusalem. The Israeli government is pursuing a policy of forcing Palestinian families from their homes in East Jerusalem and handing over their properties to Jewish settlers. The guiding idea is to plant colonies of fanatical Jewish settlers in the heart of Palestinian neighborhoods. Israeli courts have recently sanctioned such a move in Sheikh Jarrah, where three Palestinian families have now been evicted from their homes; another 28 homes are under a real threat. Needless to say, only Jews are allowed to reclaim property from before 1948 (in the case of Sheikh Jarrah, from Ottoman times, over a hundred years ago); Palestinians have no hope of reclaiming any of the hundreds of homes in West Jerusalem that once belonged to them.

[We recommend the following videos showing the evictions (activate by Ctrl + left click) including the excellent report by Reuters (the third below).]

Last Friday, December 11, the police violently broke up a peaceful, non-violent protest by Israeli and Palestinian activists and ordinary citizens against what is happening in Sheikh Jarrah. The police were exceptionally brutal, as described in some detail in our report. Twenty-four activists were arrested and held for 36 hours.
(See report in Haaretz)

he police asked that several of them be remanded in custody until the end of the legal procedures against them (possibly a matter of weeks), and they also attempted to evict three international volunteers who had been arrested in Sheikh Jarrah. Fortunately, the court did not grant either of these requests, and all those arrested have now been released under various restraining conditions, including forbidding them to enter Sheikh Jarrah in the near future. Many will likely be charged, entirely falsely, with assaulting a policeman. We do not believe that any such charges will hold up in court—there is excellent video footage disproving them—but the ongoing harassment of key civil rights activists does exact a price.

To watch video footage from the demonstration (CTRL + left click) go to:

It is very clear that the government wishes to silence democratic protest against its policies of theft and eviction and that it is determined to use the considerable means at its disposal to achieve this goal. The only significant check on their power is pressure from abroad.

you would like to help, please consider sending an email or fax (the latter is said to be more effective in winning attention) to one of the Israeli diplomatic representatives close to your place of residence (see list below) or to the Mayor of Jerusalem, Mr. Nir Barakat, ( Fax: 972-2-6296014) protesting Israel’s policy in East Jerusalem. Even a note of a few short lines can make a difference. You might ask them: Why are discriminatory policies the norm in Jerusalem? Why are only Jews allowed to reclaim their pre-1948 property? Why is the right to protest being suppressed in Jerusalem? Is Israel still a democratic state?

In the past, such protest from abroad has been effective where all other measures failed.

For further information please write to JustJerusalem

Relevant websites:
Israeli Committee against House Demolitions
Rabbis for Human Rights
The Sheikh Jarrah

With thanks to all of you for your support,
Dr. Amos Goldberg and Prof. David Shulman

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