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.

Israel launches air strikes on Gaza putting fragile ceasefire in jeopardy

Air raids pound Gaza Strip after Palestinians in besieged enclave reportedly sent incendiary balloons into southern Israel


Israeli jets bombed areas across the besieged Palestinian enclave early on 16 June (AFP)

Middle East Eye, 16 June 2021

Israel launched air strikes on the Gaza Strip early on Wednesday in response to incendiary balloons reportedly launched from the besieged Palestinian enclave, Israel’s military said.

Potentially shattering a fragile ceasefire that came into effect last month, the air strikes followed a provocative nationalist march through occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City by Jewish nationalists that had drawn threats of action by Hamas, the Palestinian movement that governs Gaza.

The Israeli military said the strikes, which attacked Hamas compounds in Khan Younis and Gaza City, came in response to the launching of the balloons, which reportedly caused 20 fires in open fields near the Gaza border, Haaretz reported.

The Israeli army added that it was “ready for all scenarios, including renewed fighting in the face of continued terrorist acts emanating from Gaza.”

A Hamas spokesman, confirming the Israeli attacks, said the Palestinians would continue to pursue their “brave resistance and defend their rights and sacred sites” in Jerusalem.

Hours earlier, thousands of Israelis took part in the so-called “Flag March” which marks the anniversary of Israel’s 1967 occupation of East Jerusalem.

Israel, which annexed the city’s eastern part in a move that has not won international recognition, regards the entire city as its capital. Palestinians want East Jerusalem to be the capital of a future state that would include the West Bank and Gaza.



    Beatings, arrests and chants of ‘Death to Arabs’ at far-
    right march in Jerusalem
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End U.S. Tax Dollars for Israel’s Genocide of Palestinians

Leah Muskin-Pierret, US Campaign for Palestinian Rights (USCPR), June 15, 2021

WASHINGTON, DC — 🔥 Statement & Call to Action:

The US Campaign for Palestinian Rights condemns the state-sanctioned, racist, anti-Palestinian flag march on June 15, 2021 in Jerusalem and continuing bombing of Palestinians in Gaza and calls for the U.S. to immediately stop funding Israel’s ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people. USCPR also asks people’s movements and organizations to express their support for Palestinian liberation, in order to stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people who, united, defy these Israeli settlers’ attempts to intimidate them.

The flag march is a blatant display of anti-Palestinian racism, in which Israeli settlers chant “Death to Arabs,” a clear call for genocidal violence against the Palestinian people. The United Nations Genocide Convention recognizes that genocide includes the act of killing members of a group “with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group.”

The Israeli government backs this violence: the reality of state-sanctioned violence was made extremely clear again today when Israeli soldiers beat a Palestinian young man and a Palestinian woman for raising a Palestinian flag in a sea of Israeli flags, while protecting Israeli Jewish demonstrators calling for burning Palestinian homes. According to latest reports, Israeli forces have assaulted and arrested Palestinian people in Jerusalem today, injuring 33 people, while clearing out shops and closing Damascus Gate for the flag march. This brutal violence cannot be separated from the continuous assaults on the Gaza Strip that have massacred generations of Palestinian families, horrific assaults that Israel is resuming as of 6pm ET today.

Especially at this moment, USCPR calls on members of Congress, leaders, and organizations to condemn this anti-Palestinian racism and violence and to hold Israel accountable for the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people. The Palestinian people have been loudly and clearly demanding nothing short of an end to all to all U.S. complicity, but many members of Congress have not even taken the most basic action to support Palestinian rights.

At a bare minimum, members of Congress must cosponsor H.R. 2590, The Palestinian Children and Families Act, which insists on the rights to safety, dignity, and freedom for the Palestinian people: the freedom to thrive, free from child detention, home demolitions, continual Israeli annexation and land theft.

The new Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has himself bragged about killing Arabs. The root of violence in Israeli policy is Zionism, Israel’s settler colonial project of displacing Palestinians to create an exclusive Jewish homeland in Palestine. Every Israeli government has advanced Israel’s colonialism and ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people.

People power makes political change possible, so USCPR echoes Palestinian calls for solidarity. The Palestinian people, who are rising up for liberation from Israel’s colonialism, are asking for support through boycott, divestment, and sanctions tactics that pressure Israel to stop violating Palestinian rights. Palestinian people in the U.S. have also outlined five vision and policy demands for justice in “Freedom Is The Future”. Read the demands at: www.freedomfuture.org/demands and take immediate action to advance justice and stop U.S. funding for Israel’s ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people at: bit.ly/NoFundsForGenocide.

📢 Take action & amplify Palestinian demands for justice right now:

  1. USCPR Statement — End the Flow of U.S. Tax Dollars to Israel’s Genocide of the Palestinian People: https://uscpr.org/nofundsforgenocide
  2. Take action right now with this Twitter action tool: http://bit.ly/NoFundsForGenocide
  3. Linktree with solidarity resources & actions: linktr.ee/uscpr
  4. Twitter lists on
    Jerusalem: https://twitter.com/i/lists/1404904413370667015 (USCPR new list)
    Gaza: https://twitter.com/i/lists/41289860 (thank you IMEU)
  5. Resources, action tools, & statement on social media:
    #NoFundsForGenocide #GazaUnderAttack #SaveSheikhJarrah #SaveSilwan
  6. Twitter: https://twitter.com/USCPR_/status/1404936692759420936
    Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/p/CQKKacig98e/
    Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/uscpalrights/posts/10158761772499442

Update: #SaveSheikhJarrah

Middle East Eye, May 2, 2021

‘If I don’t steal it, someone else is going to steal it.’

An Israeli settler’s attempt to justify a forcible takeover of a Palestinian home in Sheikh Jarrah in occupied East Jerusalem has sparked anger online after it was caught on camera.

Update: “Infamous Israeli home thief is federally charged Long Island, NY financial fraudster,” HAMZAH RAZA, The Grayzone, JUNE 9, 2021

VIRTUAL DELEGATIONS TO SILWAN, EAST JERUSALEM

Eyewitness Palestine
June 12, 13, or 16
1:00 – 2:30 pm Central

Participants in this Virtual Delegation will see the ways in which Palestinians in Silwan, East Jerusalem, are resisting Israeli occupation and displacement. In Silwan, Israel and its tourist and archeology industries seek to link the bible story of King David to the modern Israeli state. This controversial reading of archeology and history supports the illusion that Jerusalem has an exclusively Jewish history and that therefore Jews are entitled to the city. This delegation is being co-sponsored by Madaa Creative Center and Art Forces.

MORE INFO & REGISTRATION

Update: June 4, 2021
Candle Lit Vigil for Palestine




UW-Madison Students for Justice in Palestine
UW Library Mall
8:30 PM

Join us to mourn the lives lost, show solidarity to the Palestinian people, and condemn U.S military aid to Israel.

  • Meet at Library Mall
  • Candle walk up to the Capitol
  • Speakers & Open Mic
  • Number of candles provided for the number of lives lost.
    Bring your flags, signs, and keffiyehs!

    Free and open to the public.

    Life Under Occupation: The Misery at the Heart of the Conflict

    An eviction in East Jerusalem lies at the center of a conflict that led to war between Israel and Hamas. But for millions of Palestinians, the routine indignities of occupation are part of daily life.


    Israeli soldiers firing tear gas towards Palestinian protesters in the town of Kfar Qaddum. Samar Hazboun for The New York Times

    David M. Halbfinger and Adam Rasgon, The New York Times, May 22, 2021

    JERUSALEM — Muhammad Sandouka built his home in the shadow of the Temple Mount before his second son, now 15, was born.

    They demolished it together, after Israeli authorities decided that razing it would improve views of the Old City for tourists.

    Mr. Sandouka, 42, a countertop installer, had been at work when an inspector confronted his wife with two options: Tear the house down, or the government would not only level it but also bill the Sandoukas $10,000 for its expenses.

    Such is life for Palestinians living under Israel’s occupation: always dreading the knock at the front door.

    The looming removal of six Palestinian families from their homes in East Jerusalem set off a round of protests that helped ignite the latest war between Israel and Gaza. But to the roughly three million Palestinians living in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, which Israel captured in the 1967 war and has controlled through decades of failed peace talks, the story was exceptional only because it attracted an international spotlight.

    For the most part, they endure the frights and indignities of the Israeli occupation in obscurity.

    Even in supposedly quiet periods, when the world is not paying attention, Palestinians from all walks of life routinely experience exasperating impossibilities and petty humiliations, bureaucratic controls that force agonizing choices, and the fragility and cruelty of life under military rule, now in its second half-century.

    Underneath that quiet, pressure builds.

    If the eviction dispute in East Jerusalem struck a match, the occupation’s provocations ceaselessly pile up dry kindling. They are a constant and key driver of the conflict, giving Hamas an excuse to fire rockets or lone-wolf attackers grievances to channel into killings by knives or automobiles. And the provocations do not stop when the fighting ends.

    No homeowner welcomes a visit from the code-enforcement officer. But it’s entirely different in East Jerusalem, where Palestinians find it nearly impossible to obtain building permits and most homes were built without them: The penalty is often demolition.


    Mohammed Sandouka amid the ruins of his home in East Jerusalem. Dan Balilty for The New York Times

    Mr. Sandouka grew up just downhill from the Old City’s eastern ramparts, in the valley dividing the Temple Mount from the Mount of Olives.

    At 19, he married and moved into an old addition onto his father’s house, then began expanding it. New stone walls tripled the floor area. He laid tile, hung drywall and furnished a cozy kitchen. He spent around $150,000.

    Children came, six in all. Ramadan brought picnickers to the green valley. The kids played host, delivering cold water or hot soup. His wife prepared feasts of maqluba (chicken and rice) and mansaf (lamb in yogurt sauce). He walked with his sons up to Al Aqsa, one of Islam’s holiest sites.

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