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

A Palestinian activist who Israeli forces recently arrested and then released 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 from Peacock TV on, among other things, the 23-year-old siblings unwittingly becoming the global face of Palestinian resistance and thus targeted by Israeli forces.

Mohammed and Muna el-Kurd were both temporarily detained by Israeli military forces on Sunday for leading protests against settlers trying to forcibly evict dozens of Palestinian families from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah. and the neighborhoods of Silwan of occupied East Jerusalem. 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 who do the same,” el-Kurd told Hasan. “We are very grateful for the reach, and we hope that 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 immediately 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 bombings of innocent civilians.

The deportations are what helped spark the deadly 11-day attack on Gaza last month. But despite Israel’s agreement on a ceasefire with Gaza militant group Hamas, the Israeli government continued his campaign relocate 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 which several human rights groups say meets 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 who followed the creation of Israel, Jordan took possession of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, including Sheikh Jarrah. Because the war has resulted what is called the Nakba – when around 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 were expelled from Israel in 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, which, according to human rights and civil rights groups, does not represent a positive result 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 suffer violence and intimidation 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, be it the Attorney General or people funded by the Israeli government, have been really trying to present this as a ‘property dispute’, like a “real estate dispute”, to depoliticize the state-sanctioned active 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 said 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 doesn’t mean it is less evil.

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