Thursday, August 6, 2009

Farewell for Now

We are now leaving Palestine with heavy hearts, high hopes, and longing backward glances. We have learned more than we can possibly describe, and have fallen in love with this place in ways we never imagined. There is much work to be done, both here and abroad. We encourage each and every one of you to come to Palestine, to see what it is like and to realize what so many have given their lives for. Above all we encourage you to organize against the occupation in your own countries, and to support the call for boycott, divestment and sanctions until Israeli ends its racist apartheid policies. To learn more about the BDS campaign go to

Other good websites to check out:
Palestine Solidarity Project -
International Solidarity Movement -
Electronic Intifada -
Who Profits from the Occupation? -
Anarchists Agaisnt the Wall -
Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions -
Ibn Ezra (Israeli activist blog) -

Monday, August 3, 2009

Clashes Erupt in East Jerusalem in Response to Housing Evictions

Borrowed from Ynet News

Some 200 leftists, including Arabs and Jews, protested the eviction of Palestinian families from their homes in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Clashes broke out between the demonstrators and security forces, and 13 people were arrested.

Israeli police evicted two Palestinian families, then allowed Jewish settlers to move into their homes, drawing criticism from Palestinians, the United Nations and the State Department.

Police arrived before dawn and cordoned off part of the Arab neighborhood before forcibly removing more than 50 people, said Chris Gunness, spokesman for the UN agency in charge of Palestinian refugees.

UN staff later saw vehicles bringing Jewish settlers to move into the homes, he said.

Israeli police cited a ruling by the country’s Supreme Court that the houses belonged to Jews and that the Arab families had been living there illegally.

Gunness said the families had lived in the homes for more than 50 years.

US State Department spokeswoman Megan Mattson said in response to the eviction that such actions in east Jerusalem constitute violations of Israel’s obligations under US-backed “Road Map” peace plan.

“Unilateral actions taken by either party cannot prejudge the outcome of negotiations and will not be recognized by the international community,” she said in a statement.

Robert Serry, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, called the evictions “totally unacceptable.”

“These actions heighten tensions and undermine international efforts to create conditions for fruitful negotiations to achieve peace,” he said in a statement.

Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat also condemned the move.

“While Israeli authorities have promised the American administration that home demolitions, home evictions and other provocations against Palestinian Jerusalemites would be stopped, what we’ve seen on the ground is completely the opposite,” he said in a statement.

Khawla Hanoun, 35, who lived in one of the homes, said police ordered her and 16 family members to leave the house before dawn and forced them out at gunpoint when they refused.

“Now our future is in the streets,” she said. “We will remain steadfast until we return home. By any method, we must go back home.”

Israeli forces raid Bil’in, arrest eight!

At 3am, the occupation forces invaded the village of Bil’in. A total of some 200 soldiers with combat paint in their faces and masks entered the village on foot at several points of entry. 5 homes were raided and a total of 8 people were arrested, 7 Palestinians and one international activist from the United States.

The arrested Palestinians are: the three brothers Khaled Show gut Abd-Alrazic al-Khateeb (age 23), Mustafa Show gut Abd-Alrazic al-Khateeb (age18), and Mohammed Show gut Abd-Alrazic al-Khateeb (age 16); Abdullah Ahmad Yassen (age 18); Abdullah Mohammed Ali Yassen (age 16); Issa Mahmoud Issa Abu Rahma (age 40); Mohammed Abdulkarim Mustafa Khatib (age 35). One of the the popular committee leaders .

The occupation forces threw sound bombs to disperse the villagers who were coming into the streets at day-break throwing rocks at the arriving Jeeps and the soldiers that were still partly disguised from the night. The Jeeps then parked at various locations with their engines running until the end of the operation at 6:45am.

The Popular Committee of Bil’in has asked the Human Rights Committee to assist with both the release of the arrested people and the request that the Israeli Army stop the night raids.

Hanoun and al-Ghawe families evicted in Sheikh Jarrah

2 August 2009: Israeli forces have evicted the Hanoun and al-Ghawe families from their homes in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheik Jarrah.

At 5:30 in the morning, Israeli police arrived at the Hannoun family home and broke into the house through the windows. They forcefully removed Maher Hanoun, his wife Nadia and their 3 children. The police violently separated the family from the international and Israeli solidarity activists that were staying in the home. Police then arrested the international and Israeli solidarity activists that were staying with the family. Similarly, Israeli police came into the al-Ghawe family home at 5:30am and removed the family and internationals staying in the home.

Settlers arrived with a truck and began to move the al-Gwahe and Hannoun family possessions out of their home. Everyone outside of the house was forced across the street, away from the house.

Israeli forces beat a Palestinian male who was trying to intervene when police were yelling at an elderly Palestinian woman. Additionally, media personnel were pushed around by police when they were trying to get close to the evicted Sheikh Jarrah homes. 11 international activists and 2 Israeli activist were arrested.

Maher Hannoun, Palestinian resident of Sheikh Jarrah:

Despite condemnation from the international community about the evictions of by neighborhood, Sheikh Jarrah, the Israeli government continues to pursue the ethnic cleansing of East Jerusalem. My family were refugees from 1948 and now we have become refugees again. We were forced out of homes to make way for settlers, contrary to international law. The legal case that residents presented in court included an Ottoman-era document which discounts the settler associations claim of ownership over Sheikh Jarrah land and homes. But the unjust policies of Israel to judaize East Jerusalem render our legal proof of ownership irrelevant.
Jody McIntyre, a British solidarity activist:

I woke up to the sound of a brick through the front window. By the time I could get up, I was being pushed out the door by Israeli forces. They wouldn’t allow me to take my wheelchair and were physically violent towards me and the others in the Hannoun house. The unjust policies of the Israeli government are not just written documents, they affect real families. The
government has made the Hannoun and al-Ghawe families homeless, and their only crime is being Palestinian in a system that is racist against them.

The case of Sheikh Jarrah

The Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in East Jerusalem was built by the UN and Jordanian government in 1956 to house Palestinian refugees from the 1948 war. However, with the the start of the Israeli occupation of East Jerusalem, following the 1967 war, settlers began claiming ownership of the land the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood was built on.

Stating that they had purchased the land from a previous Ottoman owner in the 1800s, settlers claimed ownership of the land. In 1972, settlers successfully registered this claim with the Israeli Land Registrar.

The 28 families of Sheikh Jarrah face eviction from their homes. In November 2008, the al-Kurd family was violently evicted from their home in Sheikh Jarrah. Two weeks thereafter, Mohammad al-Kurd died from a stress induced heart attack.

In 2004 Nadav Shargai from Ha’aretz reported that: “A process of Judaization has already begun . The compound is currently, and gradually, being cleared of its Arab population by means of legal procedures.” (

Maan News story:

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Settler Violence Continues in Sheik Jarrah

Settler violence continued in Sheik Jarrah this week when a settler attacked Samar Al Sabach, a Palestinian woman who was staying in the Sheik Jarrah tent just below the Sfaradim settlement. The settler first came to the Hanoun house, which is currently under threat of eviction and has been a leader in the campaign against evictions in Sheik Jarrah. After being scared off by a large crew of family members, neighbors and solidarity activists, the settler retreated to the Sheik Jarrah tent, a community center just below the Sfaradim settlement, former home of the Al Kurd family. The settler found Samar alone in the tent and attacked her, beating her over the head with a rock. Samar has been hospitalized, and is suffering serious head trauma. There were no witnesses to the attack, and no arrests have been made.

The attack was just one more incident in a new wave of settler violence that began this past Sunday, when settlers launched their new "pricetag" campaign. The campaign is a response to US special envoy George Mitchel's recent trip to Palestine, and the Obama administration's "hardline" rhetoric against settlements. 11 new outposts were erected Sunday as the "price" for condemning settlements, and settler attacks have been more frequent and violent then usual throughout East Jerusalem and the West Bank. The settler occupation in Sheik Jarrah this Sunday coincided with the launching of this campaign.

For more information about settlements in Sheik Jarrah, visit

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Confrontations with Settlers and Police in Sheikh Jarrah

Two days ago settlers occupied a vacant Palestinian home in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem, demolished one of the walls, and began reconstruction on it.

Yesterday, a group of Palestinian, international, and Israeli activists gathered at the house for a demonstration. We were confronted at first by armed settler security and within a minute by Jerusalem municipality police. Soon border police also arrived on the scene and began shoving activists. The demonstrators demanded to know why the police were protecting illegal settlers who were defying an Israeli court order to stop construction (the Israeli court didn't demand that they left, because its a legal system that defends the settlement movement).

Every few minutes the police would escort the settlers through the crowd to get more materials for the house and would beat protesters as they tried to prevent the settlers from re-entering the house. This was an obvious provocation not only to us but to the Palestinian neighbors whose houses were really close to the occupied house. When protesters began to become more vocal and noisy, the police responded by brutalizing us and arresting a Palestinian woman. In the process, several people were choked, beaten, and stomped on by police. One person was momentarily detained.

After the scuffles, there was a brief standoff as the demonstrators refused to leave until the settlers did. Eventually they were escorted out by police, though the settler security (some of whom were armed with automatic weapons) stayed behind the police line (you can see them in light grey shirts--though the dark grey shirts are border police).

Soon a Palestinian man came over to us and told us that the police had given him an order telling him that he had to vacate his house for two weeks in order to keep the settlers safe. This was quite ironic given the number of private armed settler security and the fact that the settlers themselves were carrying weapons. He also told us that one of the settlers threatened to shoot him.

His family was quite disconcerted and his wife told us that he had 5 children who might be at risk of settler violence once he left the house. he only had 4 hours to take everything he needed and say goodbye to his family. He decided not to resist the order, though we told him we would support any decision he made. We were invited in for tea in the house and had just sat down when one of our group received a call from a Palestinian that settlers were trying to force their way into a house and the Palestinian family was resisting.

We dropped our tea and went running down several streets before coming upon a mob of Heradim/Settlers (some of whom had automatic weapons strapped to their backs) who were pushing their way into the back wall of a house. The men of the family were shoving them back. As soon as we arrived, the settlers retreated back and we formed a ring around where the house was. There was an intense showdown and police and ambulances showed up ready for what could be a possible fight.
The Heradim/settlers backed down and we pulled back into the house. A full scale battle was everted and so far the two other houses up for eviction haven't been evicted. Sheikh Jarrah is really tense right now and anything can happen.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

11 Arrested in Sheikh Jarrah While Resisting a Housing Demolition!

Early in the morning, settlers came with police to an empty house in Sheikh Jarrah. The owners were not in the house while this happened, but neighbors contacted Sheikh Jarrah's committee and activists quickly deployed to the scene. Eight were originally arrested while blocking the house. Afterward, the municipality punched a huge hole in the main wall with some demolition equipment... where I think the door used to be. (the police had the area closed off and settler security was really tight near the house so it was hard to see for certain)

Several activists began taking pictures of the area and "got too close" and were also arrested, bringing the total to 11. They are all currently still in jail and will have court tomorrow.

I arrived afterward, when the police were leaving... but there are still plenty of settlers with Uzis standing around the place.