Sheikh Jarrah: The Full Story

Heated demonstrations broke out in Occupied Palestine after the "Israeli" Supreme Court announced the possibility of evicting four families from the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood. What is the story behind Sheikh Jarrah?

  • The Story Behind Sheikh Jarrah
    Demonstrations condemning the decision made by the "Israeli" Supreme Court regarding Sheikh Jarrah. 

The international community is currently witnessing heated demonstrations and clashes in the neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah and attacks on the Al-Aqsa Mosque during the holy month of Ramadan. After a decision to evict four families from the neighborhood, demonstrations broke out against the occupation. 

Sheikh Jarrah is a neighborhood located in the north of the Old City of occupied Jerusalem. Since 1972, the residents have been facing an “Israeli” plan to evict and displace them in order to create settlements on Palestinian homes. The occupation courts took decisions in favor of the settlement plan, pushing the “Israelis” to intensify measures in order to implement the plan. 

In 1948 Palestinians were expelled by Zionist groups that aimed to pave the way for a Jewish state. The Palestinians were forced to flee their homes to different areas and neighboring countries. Following the events of the “Nakba”, the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood welcomed 28 Palestinian families in 1956 after being forced out of their homes. 

The neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah was a new home to Palestinian families but never saw peace. The families were always threatened of being displaced again due to the constant “Israeli” threat to evict them. 

The Jordanian Promise

At the time of the evictions, the West Bank was under Jordanian rule from 1951 till 1967. The Jordanian government provided the land and UNRWA covered its costs in order to build for 28 Palestinian families.

An agreement was being concluded between the Ministry of Construction and Reconstruction and Palestinian families that enforce a monthly fee on the families, provided that the ownership of the homes is transferred to the residents three years after the construction is completed. However, the process was interrupted in 1967 when the “Israeli” occupation occupied the West Bank. 

After a period of calm, the neighborhood started suffering again in 1972 when two “Israeli” associations called on the court to evict four families from their homes.

There were 12 Palestinian families in the neighborhood that received eviction orders issued by the “Israeli” courts. And four Palestinian families filed a petition to the Supreme Court against the decision to expel the families from their homes. 

 Evicted Palestinian Families

Since 2008, the occupation authorities demolished or threatened to demolish Palestinian homes. In November 2008, the al-Kurd family was evicted and the year after both the Hanoun and al-Ghawi families were evicted. Their homes were invaded by “Israeli” settlers that quickly raised the “Israeli” flag on their homes and created another phase of suffering for the Palestinians. 

In an interview with Al-Mayadeen, al-Maqdisi Nabil al-Kurd, a resident in the neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, stated that “after the setback (the 1967 war) in which the “Israeli” occupation authorities seized the western part of the Jerusalem area, residents were surprised to see that the first home was stolen and turned in to an administrative office. 

Young Mona al-Kurd explained to Al-Mayadeen how she grew up witnessing settlers sharing her house and living in her neighborhood since 2009. She explained that the occupation decided to settle a group of young men in her house. She added saying that the occupation government paid settlers to assault the residents both psychologically and physically. 

Confrontations in Sheikh Jarrah 

At the beginning of this year, a decision was issued by the Central Occupation Court for the families of al-Jaouni, al-Qassem, Iskafi, and the Kurds to leave their homes and the families of al-Daoudi, al-Dajani, and Hammad as well. The process of forced evictions will leave around 550 Palestinians homeless. 

Protests broke out last Friday in the neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah against the arbitrary displacement decisions. Protestors were exposed to the usual “Israeli” acts of violence and were being assaulted with hand bombs to disperse the groups. 

The residents wrote a statement that falsifies the occupation’s claim over their ownership of the land and calls on the Kingdom of Jordan for their legal efforts along with the Palestinian Authority, and the international parties. The demands focused more on the kingdom because it made promises that are backed by papers and documents that legitimize the ownership of the land.

Palestinian Unity Against Aggression 

The Palestinian front witnessed unity between all factions. Gaza made a military and local entry to the line of confrontation in the battle of Jerusalem by firing tens of rockets as a clear message to the occupation, affirming the unity of the Palestinians. 

As confrontations escalated in Sheikh Jarrah, resistance leaders in Gaza stressed that they will not leave Jerusalem or the Jerusalemites alone. 

Social Platforms in Solidarity with Sheikh Jarrah 

Supporters of the Palestinian cause are flooding social platforms with posts of solidarity with the people of Palestine. Footage filmed during the protests is being forwarded all over the world showing the “Israeli” violence and brutality that the Palestinians have been experiencing. 

In an effort to garner international support, activists launched a campaign with the hashtag #SaveSheikhJarrah to help save residents, who have been living in the neighborhood for decades, from expulsion. The pictures and videos that are circulating caused international rage, which helped delay the court decision. 

The streets of Sheikh Jarrah are fogged with gas canisters and stun grenades to disperse the demonstrators. Till this very moment, residents are on the streets condemning the decision to evict the families from their homes. 

The “Israeli” occupation forces lost control of the situation and were forced to delay the court decision until further notice. On the other hand, the Palestinian community witnessed a great form of unity locally and internationally grabbing international attention.