If you’ve paid attention to the news these past few days, you’re probably familiar with Sheikh Jarrah by now. But if you’re still wondering what exactly is going on in the Palestinian neighbourhood, here’s a breakdown of things:
Four Palestinian families in Sheikh Jarrah are being forcibly expelled from their homes into the street, with illegal Israeli settlers taking over.
The move comes after an Israeli district court had ordered the Palestinian families last February to vacate their homes by May 2. Despite their appeals to the order, the families of El-Kurd, Al-Qasim, Skafi, and Al-Ja’ouni are now facing the threat of expulsion from their homes.
“The Supreme Court of Israel did not decide regarding the four Sheikh Jarrah families’ appeal against our forced eviction, ordered for today, May 2. Instead, the ruling was postponed until Thursday, May 6,” the families said in a statement posted by Palestinian writer and poet Mohammed El-Kurd, pointing out that such postponement is a common practice to dispel public opinion protests and resistance.
“The judge ordered that “both sides” should reach some deal, whereby the Sheikh Jarrah families admit the settler organization’s ownership of the land, and pay rent to the settler organizations,” they added.
As it stands, Israeli settlers continue in their efforts to illegally steal the homes as backed by the court despite the land legally belonging to the families. But this isn’t the first time it happens in Sheikh Jarrah.
The neighborhood, which was home to 28 Palestinian refugee families who moved there in 1956 after being already forcibly expelled from their original homes during the Nakba, has already seen 67 Palestinians face the same consequence in 2009 alone.
Amidst what activists are now calling an “ongoing Nakba”, the four families as well as other residents of Sheikh Jarrah who were peacefully protesting the illegal expulsion have been under attack by armed Israeli forces. Violently arresting, spraying them with chemical sewage water and brutally beating them, the events have led to dozens of injuries.
People are now bringing international attention to the events and the Palestinian cause as a whole with the campaign of #SaveSheikhJarrah. But posts attributed to the campaign have been said to face social media censorship with Facebook, Instagram and Twitter allegedly hiding hashtags, deleting posts and blocking activists’ accounts.
In addition, social media users have expressed their frustrations with western media’s reporting on the events, often lacking context, and misreporting ‘forced expulsions’ as ‘evictions’ for example, and ultimately diluting the gravity of the situation.
Don’t donate to funds claiming to help Sheikh Jarrah
The families are not taking donations and haven’t endorsed any funds. “We are committed to keeping the fight for Sheikh Jarrah a political one. It is not time for humanitarian support yet,” Mohammed el-Kurd tweeted.
Join the ‘Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions’ movement
Sign these petitions:
Join your local rally
Follow @palestinianyouthmovement for rally announcements around the world. If your city hasn’t organized one yet; reach out to your local community and organizations to do so.
Support the Palestinian Children and Families Act
The historic legislation has been introduced to ensure that no US tax dollars fund the human rights violations carried out by the Israeli government against Palestinians. Click here to ensure that your representative is on the bill.
Keep spreading the word
We need to keep the momentum up while sharing information and credible media through these hashtags #SaveSheikhJarrah, #SheikhJarrah and #StopJerusalemExpulsions. You can also find a sample of tweets to share here.