Israeli police ​attack funeral procession for shot journalist Shireen Abu Aqleh

TV images show Al Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Aqleh’s coffin falling as police grab Palestinian flags from crowd

Sufian Taha, The Guardian, 13 May 2022

Jerusalem — Israeli forces have attacked a funeral procession for a Palestinian American journalist shot dead this week, kicking and hitting people with batons and causing mourners carrying her coffin to lose balance and drop it to the ground.

Police said mourners were “disrupting public order”. Footage showed the coffin of Al Jazeera reporter Shireen Abu Aqleh on mourners’ shoulders outside St Joseph’s hospital in Israeli-annexed East Jerusalem as police rushed in and attacked people, several of whom held Palestinian flags. The sound of a stun grenade could be heard.

Israel forbids public displays of Palestinian flags and often prevents people from hoisting them at rallies and protests in the city.

A senior Palestinian figure, Hanan Ashrawi, tweeted that “savage Israeli ‘special forces’ viciously attack the funeral procession bearing the coffin” of Abu Aqleh as it left St Joseph’s hospital. “The inhumanity [of] Israel is on full display,” said the former Palestine Liberation Organisation official.

Police said they had held talks with Abu Aqleh’s family in order to “enable a respectable funeral. Unfortunately, under the auspices of the funeral and taking cynical advantage of it, hundreds of people began disrupting public order before [the funeral] even began.

“As the coffin was about to exit the hospital, stones began to be thrown at officers from the hospital’s plaza, and the officers were forced to use riot dispersal means.”

Police released a video in which an officer outside the hospital grounds addresses the crowd. “If you don’t stop these chants and [Palestinian] nationalistic songs we will have to disperse you using force and we won’t let the funeral take place,” the officer says.

Abu Aqleh’s coffin left the hospital grounds by vehicle and arrived at a Jerusalem church for her funeral.

The 51-year-old reporter was shot in the head on Wednesday morning in the West Bank city of Jenin during what her colleagues at the scene said was a burst of Israeli fire on a small group of journalists covering an expected Israeli military raid.

The Israeli military said its troops shot back after coming under “massive fire” in Jenin and that “there is a possibility, now being looked into, that reporters were hit – possibly by shots fired by Palestinian gunmen”. However, the Israeli military chief, Lt Gen Aviv Kochavi, later appeared to back away from those assertions, saying: “At this stage we cannot determine by whose fire she was harmed and we regret her death.”

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Israeli settlers and police seize part of historic hotel

Petra hotel in East Jerusalem’s Old City is the subject of an 18-year legal battle between the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate and the powerful settler group Ateret Cohanim


An Orthodox Jewish man raises his hand as he walks past the Petra hostel in the Old City of Jerusalem near the Jaffa Gate, 11 June 2019 (AFP)

Mustafa Abu Sneineh, Middle East Eye, 28 March 2022

Israeli police and settlers have taken control part of the historic Petra hotel, the subject of a years-long legal challenge between the Greek Orthodox Patriarch and settler group Ateret Cohanim, in the Old City of occupied East Jerusalem.

On Sunday evening, dozens of Israeli policemen and members of Ateret Cohanim moved into the first floor of the hotel, near Jerusalem’s Jaffa Gate.

‘The settlers’ intrusion came without any right and without any legal justification. We are the owners of the right to protect the hotel, which will remain an Arab property’ — Basma Qirresh, owner

The area is part of the Christian quarter in Jerusalem and is located strategically near the western walls of the city, which is thriving with tourists and pilgrims visiting the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

Petra has been the subject of an 18-year legal battle between the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate and Ateret Cohanim, a powerful and active settler group that pushes for increased Jewish presence in East Jerusalem neighbourhoods.

In 2004, Ateret Cohanim bought the leases to Petra’s first floor and two other properties owned by the patriarchate in the Old City through three foreign private companies. 

The patriarchate controls the top floor of the Petra which it leases to the Qirresh Palestinian family.

The buildings are highly sought after due to their strategic position in both the Christian and Muslim quarters of the Old City.

On Sunday evening, the Israeli police arrested three Palestinians and prevented the hotel’s tenants, Palestinians and lawyers from entering the building, Wafa news agency reported.

Some Palestinians gathered outside the hotel and performed the evening prayer in protest.

The Qirresh family, who rent the building from the patriarchate and run the hotel, said that the Israeli police and settlers were trespassing on their property.

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Israeli top court annuls Sheikh Jarrah eviction orders

I am writing with breaking news from this week in Sheikh Jarrah.

On Tuesday, the Israeli Supreme Court ruled to annul the current expulsion orders against four Palestinian families in the neighborhood — the El-Kurd, Jaouni, Al-Qasim, and Iskafi families.

Overturning years of previous decisions, the new ruling protects the families from forced eviction for months and possibly years to come. This decision comes after a decades-long organizing campaign led by the Palestinian residents of Sheikh Jarrah to save their community.

While we celebrate this significant step, the struggle in Sheikh Jarrah is far from over. The families are protected from immediate expulsion, but the court left it up to the Ministry of Justice to review property rights over the land, meaning the threat of dispossession continues to loom large. Other families in the neighborhood and throughout Jerusalem still face the imminent displacement, though some believe this ruling could set a precedent for dozens of other cases in Sheikh Jarrah, Silwan and beyond. And the brutality of the occupation remains in full force — on Wednesday police closed off Sheikh Jarrah with metal barriers, preventing some journalists from entering, while protecting an ultra-nationalist settler rally protesting the court’s ruling.

Nevertheless, this is an inspiring reminder of what can be achieved through the powerful combination of grassroots mobilization and international pressure. The four families affected by the ruling made clear in their joint statement [below] that they do not expect justice to come from Israeli courts, writing: “We count on the popular and global movements that have accomplished the unprecedented feat of forcing the court to cancel the imminent expulsion.”

Keeping our eyes on Sheikh Jarrah and the rest of Jerusalem is crucial. As we have seen this week, the power of our attention can make a difference.

With resolve,
Emma Alpert
Deputy Director, Just Vision


A statement by Sheikh Jarrah Neighborhood Units
in response to the Occupation’s Supreme Court ruling.

On March 1, 2022, the Occupation’s Supreme Court ruled to annul the expulsion orders
issued against four families in Sheikh Jarrah (laouni, Al-Qasim, El-Kurd, and Iskafi) and
defer the review of property rights over the land (Karm Al-laouni) to “title settlement and
registration” procedures.

The battle to solidify our rights in our lands and our homes is far from over-rather, it has
started anew. The Occupation authorities weaponize “land settlement and registration” as a tool to control land in occupied Jerusalem. We reaffirm: our cause is righteous and we will continue in our fight.

We know we will not receive justice from Israeli Occupation courts. Rather, we count on the popular and global movements that have accomplished the unprecedented feat of forcing the court to cancel the imminent expulsion.

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Israeli settlers seize and fence off land in Sheikh Jarrah

The area is on high alert following the demolition of a Palestinian house north of the neighbourhood, which has been widely condemned


Israeli settlers install a fence while seizing land in the Palestinian neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah in East Jerusalem (Supplied)

Middle East Eye Staff, 21 January 2022

Israeli settlers seized a land plot in occupied East Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood on Friday, accompanied by police and the deputy mayor of Jerusalem municipality.

The settlers set up fences around the land that the Palestinian Salem family in Sheikh Jarrah said belonged to them.

Local media reported that Israeli police pushed locals and attacked protesters. A Palestinian woman from the Salem family claimed to have suffered a broken arm after Arieh King, the deputy mayor of Jerusalem municipality, attacked her.

The area has been on high alert over the past week, following the demolition of a Palestinian house north of the neighbourhood, which has been widely condemned.

Sheikh Jarrah has been a significant flashpoint over the past year after Israel tried to expel Palestinian families from the area last May to make way for Israeli settlers.

On Friday, settlers claimed ownership of the land and the Salem family’s house. The Nahalat Shimon settler group had been active in pursuing eviction orders issued by Israeli courts against Palestinian families. 

Nahalat Shimon is the Hebrew name of Sheikh Jarrah. Settlers say that Jewish families lived in the area before 1917, and that the properties belong to them.

Fatima Salem, 73, said she had been living in the house in Sheikh Jarrah with her son and daughter and their families for decades. In 1988 they were ordered by an Israeli court to vacate their property but froze the decision that year. In 2015, the Israeli court reactivated the eviction orders for the house. 

She told Middle East Eye that settlers had beaten her son, Ibrahim, and shoved her while they tried to face them on Friday morning. The Salems were woken up by the neighbours on their day off, to see settlers busy fencing the land.

“The Israeli police were standing and did not stop [it]. They were standing with the settlers against us and let them fence it, and then attacked us, my son and I was shoved pushed from my chair,” she said.

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#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

Today – Wednesday 19th January
4-5pm (GMT)
5-6pm (CET)
12-1pm (ET)

Tweet from the templates below, replacing the tagged handle at the beginning with your appropriate consulate/embassy. You can also use the images below to accompany them! If you create your own tweets, make sure to use the #SaveSheikhJarrah hashtag.

National Consulates/Embassies in Jerusalem

Country Twitter Handle
UK @UKinJerusalem
Spain @ConsuladoEspJer
Sweden @SwedeninJERU
Belgium @BelgiumJRS
France @FranceJerusalem
USA @usembassyjlm
Finland @FinPalestine 

Template Tweets

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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?’”

Lital Salhiyeh in the Salhiyeh family home, weeks before it was demolished by Israeli forces. (Rachel Shor)

Lital Salhiyeh in the Salhiyeh family home, weeks before it was demolished by Israeli forces. (Rachel Shor)

“Now Aya is with me. It’s me and her in our pajamas. She is traumatized. She does not sleep at night. She is silent, doesn’t utter a word. All I care about right now is that my family comes out of detention — that’s it. I saw Mahmoud and my son Amir being arrested with my own eyes, but I know nothing about Adal and Nur. Nur is 16 years old.”

The Salhiyeh family had lived in Sheikh Jarrah ever since they were expelled from their family home in the Palestinian village of Ayn Karim (today Ein Kerem) in West Jerusalem, during the Nakba. In 1958, the family purchased a six dunam plot of land in the neighborhood. In 2017, the Jerusalem Municipality expropriated it for public purposes in order to establish a school and kindergarten. The family petitioned against the eviction, but the courts upheld the decision.

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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.