Why do settlers want to live where nobody speaks their language and they need security to escorts them wherever they go?
We were standing the way we stand every week, near the Ghawi family house, holding banners and chanting. Perhaps we could soften the heart of the settlers to return the house to the previous owner and go live where they are wanted and belong. Sheikh Jarah is a Palestinian neighbourhood in East Jerusalem, contested and disputed Territory.
The settlers feel calm and comfortable walking in the streets of Sheikh Jarrah accompanied by soldiers. The Palestinians less so.
There are checkpoints at the entry to the neighbourhood & residents are asked to show their IDs upon entry. Last week 16 years old Janah Qiswani was hit by a sponge tipped bullet. This week a fourteen years old girl was arrested for painting her face in Palestinian flag colours. Sheikh Jarah said Salah Diab human rights defender, is slowly becoming the second Hebron Shuhada Street-an apartheid part of town where extremist settlers roam freely and the Palestinians are afraid to leave their homes
I don’t get outside of the house in the recent days. My small apartment is very comfortable. After spending too much time confined to myself in the safety of my home I have decided to attend the weekly protest in Sheikh Jarah. In fact, I felt as if the whole week I was conserving energy so I can go to Sheikh Jarah East Jerusalem in the weekend. The day before the protest I heard that dozens of settlers extremists raided the neighbourhood with the police doing nothing to stop them. I felt an urge to be there
But I was also afraid of the violence. My body was trembling and my heart was beating with anxiety. I was not afraid of the Palestinians, I was afraid of my own army. The neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarah is a friendly and hospitable neighbourhood the way I know it. I was Afraid that the armed police forces will beat me or that they might start firing sponge or rubber bullets. I know the beating is the most common when to disprese us in West Jerusalem Balfour street. Last week there was a skunk truck standing by and there were stun grenades & some protesters were lightly injured by them. The first thing I saw was many comuists and socialist activists and quite a few anarchists.
The communists organised a bus and a megaphone. Because of عید Al fitr the March did not take the usual route. Salah Diab the human rights defender of #SheikhJarah #Jerusalem came by with a broken leg. He was badly beaten during his arrest a week ago. He looked tired but by no way broken in spirit. He was warmly greeted by his friends and supporters. We marched to the house of Al Souda House, the house that was attacked yesterday evening by extremist settlers. The owner described to us how he tried to get out of the house and call for help because the settlers were stoning him and each time the soldiers shot stun grenades forcing him to stay inside. After that Mossi Raz from Meretz party made a short speech and won applause. I left early because I did not want to miss the bus home. There is no public transportation in Jerusalem on Friday night till Saturday night. This is because of shabat. So I headed to take a Palestinian bus from Bab Al Amoud. I stopped to get coffee,humus and falafel. From the other side of the road I saw the actual protest of the local youth at Bab Al Amoud Damascus Gate. I heard stun grenades being shot. I saw very little children running around. I grabbed my coffee but it was impossible to drink it with the explosions all around. So I took the bus to Bet Safafa and I walked home
Peaceful protest in Jerusalem often goes unreported, unfortunately. If there is no blood & violence the media doesn’t care. During my years of activism I have met more than a few Palestinian Ghandis. One of them is our friend Salah Diab, human rights defender of Sheikh Jarah. Salah is someone I know for almost a decade. He is a hero & inspiration, I am honoured to meet him. During the many years of protests in Sheikh Jarah some of the Israeli activists became very close to Salah. He is a very honorable man, one of the most peaceful people I know. It came as a great shock to me to learn that Salah is being accused by the Israeli authority of organising illegal protests. I attended one of his court hearings. He was incarcerated for his part of peaceful protest. I could not believe that a man like Salah could be in jail while I think he should be acknowledged as a human right defender & be protected by international law. Despite being incarcerated, Salah didnt give up on peaceful Protests against ethnic cleansing in Sheikh Jarah.
Last Friday in #SheikhJarrah I was looking for Salah in the crowd but he wasn’t there. I assumed he was preparing for Iftar, the meal after Ramadan
A little while before the protest the Israeli army forces raided Salah Diab’s House, broke his leg & pepper sprayed him. Last I heard he had a court hearing that began on Saturday day night & some activists have gathered for a support vigil in front of the Masqobia where his hearing took place. Right now I don’t know if Salah is a free man or not & wither or not the Israeli authorities will continue to persecute yet another unsung Palestinian Ghandis.