#SaveSheikhJarrah Twitterstorm

Palestine Solidarity Campaign, January 19, 2022 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm GMT

At 3am last night, Israeli security forces raided the Salhiya family house in Sheikh Jarrah, arresting and injuring multiple family members. After the family – who have lived in the house since 1956 –  refused to be expelled, Israeli troops barricaded then stormed their home. By dawn, only the rubble remained.

Over 1500 Palestinians currently live under the threat of home demolitions in occupied Jerusalem. In May of last year, Sheikh Jarrah was the flashpoint from which began the most significant period of protest in Palestine for a generation, now known as the Unity Intifada.

Israel believes that now, whilst the world’s attention is turned away, it can expel the Sheikh Jarrah families one by one. But Palestinians are coming together to resist this threat of ethnic cleansing, just as they did last May.

We must support their grassroots resistance by demanding our own Governments hold Israel accountable for its actions that amount to the crime of apartheid. It’s time to mobilise for Palestine once more. In addition to the emergency protest taking place on Friday, we have organised a Twitterstorm.

JOIN OUR TWITTERSTORM

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‘How do they expect my children to grow up and not be full of hatred?’

Lital Salhiyeh, whose family home in Sheikh Jarrah was demolished on Wednesday morning, has no idea where she and her family will go now.

Yuval Abraham, +972 Magazine, January 19, 2022

The remains of the Salhiyeh family home that was demolished by Israeli authorities, in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, January 19, 2022. (Jamal Awad/Flash90)
The remains of the Salhiyeh family home that was demolished by Israeli authorities, in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, January 19, 2022. (Jamal Awad/Flash90)

Israeli security forces demolished the home of the Salhiyeh family and forcibly expelled its residents in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah during the early hours of the morning on Wednesday.

Police raided the house around 3:15 a.m., violently kicking out the family and activists who had arrived to defend the family home. According to Palestinian and Israeli activists who were at the scene, officers cut electricity to the house, before using stun grenades and arresting 18 people, including members of the Salhiyeh family, Palestinian activists, and five Israeli activists. All of the Israeli activists and some of the Palestinians have been released, while others remain in Israeli custody — including Mahmoud, the family’s father.

Following the expulsion, bulldozers entered and destroyed the family home, where Lital Salhiyeh, her husband Mahmoud, their four children, and Mahmoud’s mother lived. The remains of the home and the family’s belongings, which included photo albums and children’s backpacks, laid strewn out in the rubble.

“All of a sudden we heard booms. I jumped out of bed and turned on the light — but there was no electricity in the house,” Lital told me following the demolition. “I lifted my head, and all I saw around me was hundreds of lights from helmets. It was a terrifying sight.”

Lital, an Israeli Jew who is originally from Rishon LeZion, said she had gone to bed half an hour before police forces burst into her home. Once she heard the booms, she jumped out of bed and began to run. “I was looking for my little daughter Aya, who’s nine years old and was sleeping in the other room with her aunt. I wanted to get to her. A policeman caught me and said, ‘What are you doing?’”

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“We don’t have another place to go”

Dispossession, Settler Violence, & Resistance in Masafer Yatta

Occupied Thoughts, Foundation for Middle East Peace, 1/12/2022

"We don't have another place to go:" Dispossession, Settler Violence, & Resistance in Masafer YattaIn this episode of Occupied Thoughts, FMEP's Sarah Anne Minkin speaks with activist and author Ali Awad about the threats of dispossession and state-backed settler violence facing Palestinians in the Masafer Yatta area of the South Hebron Hills.

Ali's most recent article, co-authored with Awdah Hathaleen, describes extreme violence against a village elder in a non-violent protest in Masafer Yatta: "Israeli police shattered this Palestinian elder’s bones — and drove away."

Bios

  • Ali Awad is an activist from the village of Tuba in the South Hebron Hills.
  • Sarah Anne Minkin, PhD, is FMEP’s Director of Programs & Partnerships.
  • Original music by Jalal Yaquoub

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Our Tax Dollars at Work: Destroying a Palestinian Family’s Home and Livelihood

Al Fakheit is one of 12 villages located in the Masafer Yatta area that Israel claims as Firing Zone 918. The Palestinians living in these villages have fought a long legal battle to remain in their homes. On January 3 the Abu Sabha family lost their last legal appeal in an Israeli court.


The Abu Sabha family’s home and barn

Mohammed, the father of the family, was born in the village, in a cave home that is over a century old. In the 1990s Mohammed built tents for his family near the home, and in 2016 he built two homes, all on his privately owned land. Eighteen people lived in these homes. On January 3 the Israeli army issued demolition orders for these homes.


The Abu Sabha family’s animal barns


Members of the Abu Sabha family outside their home learn on January 3 that their legal appeals are exhausted.

On the morning of January 12 the Israeli Civil Administration arrived in the village with border police and bulldozers, and demolished 8 Palestinians structures including homes, two sheep barns, and a water well, leaving several families homeless and without shelter from the weather.


Israeli border police force families back from their homes on January 12.


Israeli forces confront a woman whose home is being demolished.

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New Film on Hebron at the New York Times

Mission: Hebron by Israeli filmmaker Rona Segal was published recently in the opinion section of the New York Times website, and can be watched there (with a subscription) or on YouTube.

Mission: Hebron is a short documentary based on interviews conducted by the director with Breaking the Silence testifiers about their service in Hebron. Describing a horrifying yet mundane routine of manning checkpoints, invading homes, nighttime arrests, and violently dispersing protests, they paint a picture of what serving in the second largest Palestinian city in the occupied territories requires, the atmosphere in the city, their interaction with the local population, both Palestinians and settlers, and how they felt about it all.

Screened around the world at international film festivals, the film won the Shagrir Prize at last year’s Jerusalem Film Festival and is now long-listed for the Academy Award for Best Short Documentary.

The Residents of Firing Zone 918


This morning, residents of Haifa, Jerusalem and Tel Aviv awoke to find posters depicting the faces of Palestinians from Massafer Yatta splashed across their cities.

Since the late 1990s, the Israeli army has been trying to operate a military training zone (Firing Zone 918) in Massafer Yatta. After a twenty-year legal battle to remain on their land, a final decision could be taken by the Israeli Supreme Court in March 2022. If the court rules against the residents, it would be one of the largest displacements of Palestinian communities in decades – with over 1300 people being forcibly transferred from their land.

The inhumanity of occupation is often justified under the guise of Israel’s ‘security needs’ but we must see through this. There is no justification for ethnic cleansing or stealing Palestinian land. Forcible transfer is a war crime. Solidarity with the residents of Massafer Yatta #savemassaferyatta

Learn more and get involved at SaveMasaferYatta.com

Photo credits: Activestills

What Happens to a Palestinian Who Protects His Land

Home Invasions and False Arrests: Aref Jaber defies settlers’ attempts to take over his plot of land near Hebron, and finds himself facing harassment from the army too

Amira Hass, Haaretz, Aug. 28, 2021

On December 11, a structure made of wood and cinder blocks appeared on a piece of land belonging to Aref Jaber of Hebron. Just before he found the structure, relatives told him that Israeli Jews were squatting on his land, on a hill east of Hebron in the West Bank, in an area called al-Bak’aa.

Since that day, Jaber and his family have been constantly harassed: raids on his land and home, other illegal structures going up and being demolished, intrusive drones, imposter Israel Police officers saying they’re from the Shin Bet security service, and false arrests by the army and police.

Watch My Neighbourhood, the story of Sheikh Jarrah

A remarkable, nonviolent struggle against settlement expansion in East Jerusalem

Mohammed El Kurd is a Palestinian boy growing up in the neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah in the heart of East Jerusalem. When Mohammed turns 11, his family is forced to give up part of their home to Israeli settlers, who are leading a campaign of court-sanctioned evictions to guarantee Jewish control of the area.

Shortly after their displacement, Mohammed’s family and other residents begin holding unarmed protests against the evictions, determined not to lose their homes for good. In a surprising turn, they are quickly joined by scores of Israeli supporters who are horrified to see what is being done in their name. Among them is Jewish West Jerusalem resident Zvi Benninga and his sister Sara, who develop a strong relationship with Mohammed and his family as they take on a leading role in organizing the protests.

Through their personal stories, My Neighbourhood goes beyond the sensational headlines that normally dominate discussions of Jerusalem and captures voices rarely heard, of those striving for a future of equality and pluralism in the city.

My Neighbourhood follows Mohammed as he comes of age in the midst of unrelenting tension and remarkable cooperation in his backyard. Highlighting Mohammed’s own reactions to the highly volatile situation, reflections from family members and other evicted residents, accounts of Israeli protesters and interviews with Israeli settlers, the film chronicles the resolve of a neighbourhood and the support it receives from the most unexpected of places.

My Neighbourhood is directed and produced by Rebekah Wingert-Jabi, who documented Mohammed’s story over two years, and acclaimed filmmaker Julia Bacha. It is the latest production by Just Vision, an award-winning team of Palestinian, Israeli, North and South American filmmakers, journalists and human rights advocates dedicated to telling the stories of Israelis and Palestinians working nonviolently to achieve freedom, dignity, equality and human security in the region.