By Saed Bannoura - IMEMC - November 5, 2009
After a Palestinian family was forcibly removed from their home by armed Israeli settlers in Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in East Jerusalem, international and Israeli peace activists have descended on the neighborhood to hold a vigil in support of the evicted family.
The vigil began late Wednesday when the peace activists brought a tent, food and supplies to the al-Kurd family, and set up the vigil across the street from their now-occupied home.
The family was forced out of their home Tuesday morning by 40 armed settlers accompanied by private armed security and Israeli police forces, who entered a section of the home, threw out the family’s belongings and locked themselves in.
The take-over came after an appeal submitted by the family’s lawyer was rejected by the District Court. In their appeal, the Palestinian family was challenging an earlier court decision that deemed a section of the house illegal and ordered that the keys be given to settlers. The settlers proceeded to enter the house, while the court did not grant them the right to enter the property.
The al-Kurd home was built in 1956. An addition to the house was built 10 years ago, but the family was not allowed to inhabit the section because the municipality refused to grant them a building permit.
The al-Kurds have become the fourth Sheikh Jarrah family whose house (or part of it) has been occupied by settlers in the last year. So far, 60 people have been left homeless. In total, 28 families living in the Karm Al-Ja’ouni neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah, located directly north of the Old City, face imminent eviction from their homes.
The area of Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan, where most of the recent home demolitions and evictions have taken place, is the place laid out by Israeli municipal authorities for expansion of Jewish developments, in a plan published in 2005.
In addition, Israeli peace groups have documented significant excavations underground in the Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan neighborhoods by Israeli archaeologist and ideologically-driven religious elements.