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: