Monday, 3 August 2009

famílias palestinianas em Jerusalém Oriental violentamente expulsas das suas casas


Palestinian families in East Jerusalem forcibly evicted from their houses

Israeli forces forcibly evicted two extended Palestinian families from their houses in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in East Jerusalem early in the morning on Sunday.

Israeli settlers move into the evicted houses in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood - Photo reprinted from
Israeli settlers move into the evicted houses in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood - Photo reprinted from

Israeli forces first demolished gates on the two houses and then forced the families out at gunpoint, without letting them remove furniture or belongings.

At around 5:30 in the morning, Israeli police arrived at the Hannoun family home and broke into the house through the windows. They removed Maher Hanoun, his wife Nadia and their 3 children using force. The police 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. Around the same time, Israeli police came into the al-Ghawe family home and removed the family, among them many small children, and internationals staying in the home. Eyewitnesses reported that Israeli forces beat a Palestinian male who was trying to intervene when police were yelling at an elderly Palestinian woman.

Journalists were pushed around by police when they were trying to get close to the evicted Sheikh Jarrah homes. The police tried to seal off the entire area for all journalists. Among the people arrested at the scene there were at least 7 international activists and 1 Israeli activist. They are scheduled to be brought to court in Jerusalem at 11am.

Soon after the eviction settlers arrived with a truck and began to move the possessions of the two families out of their homes. Later the same day settlers moved their families and belongings into the evicted houses, while the Israeli police stood guard to protect them.

Maher Hannoun, owner of one of the houses, spoke out about the eviction in a press release: Despite condemnation from the international community about the evictions of my 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 our homes to make way for settlers, an act that is contrary to international law. The legal case that residents presented in court included an Ottoman-era document which discounts the settler’s claim of ownership of Sheikh Jarrah’s 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 stated in the same press release: 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 Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in East Jerusalem was built by the UN and Jordanian government in 1956 to house Palestinian refugees from the 1948 war. 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 lawyer of the Sheikh Jarrah families went to Turkey to find these documents proving the settler’s landownership in the Ottoman Archives. The Ottomans were well known for neatly documenting all important events, stored by date. The original of the document that the settlers base their claims upon was not to be found in the archives.

In total around 28 families of Sheikh Jarrah face eviction from their homes. In November 2008, the al-Kurd family was violently evicted from their home. Two weeks thereafter, Mohammad al-Kurd died from a stress induced heart attack. After the family was evicted the neighborhood had put up a protest tent, as alternative housing for the family. The tent has been destroyed many times by Israeli forces. Most recently, this Sunday morning, when the Israeli police also carried out the two house evictions.

A week before the house eviction a member of the al-Ghawe family expressed to IMEMC’s Katherine Orwell his determination to stay on his land, regardless if he would be evicted from his house or not: “If the Israeli authorities will evict us from our house. I will not go anywhere. I’m determined to stay here. I will put up a tent across the street and will go live there with my family. Where can we go? This is all we have”.

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

Saeb Erekat, the Palestine Liberation Organization's chief negotiator gravely denounced the eviction of the two families in local media. “Israel, the occupying power, once again has shown its commitment to the settler organizations by evicting more than 50 Palestinians, many of them children, from the houses where they have lived for more than 50 years,” Erekat said.

“Tonight, while these new settlers from abroad will be accommodating themselves and their belongings in these Palestinian houses, 19 newly homeless children will have nowhere to sleep,” he added.

“Israel is once again showing its utter failure to respect international law, the Road Map and the most basic moral and humanitarian principles,” Erekat noted. “While Israeli authorities have promised the American administration that home demolitions, home evictions and others provocations against Palestinian Jerusalemites would be stopped, what we’ve seen on the ground is completely the opposite.”

UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Robert Serry also condemned Israel’s eviction as a grave violation of international law. “I deplore today's totally unacceptable actions by Israel,” the official, Richard Serry, said in a statement to the Palestinian news agency Ma’an.

Serry alleged that Israel removed the Palestinians, refugees registered with the UN, from their homes to make way for settlers wanting to take control of their property. “These actions are contrary to the provisions of the Geneva Conventions related to occupied territory.” “They also contravene the united calls of the international community, including the Quartet, which in its recent statement urged the Government of Israel to refrain from provocative actions in East Jerusalem, including house demolitions and evictions,” he remarked.

Israel’s High Court had issued a ruling earlier last week that the two homes belonged to Jewish citizens, and has in the past ruled that Palestinian East Jerusalem is part of Israel, ignoring international law that prohibits a state from annexing occupied territory to its own state.

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