Monday, August 3, 2009

Update on the Sheikh Jarrah evictions: "I have been here 56 years and I have more right to be here than them"

The al Hanoun and al Ghawi families have set up tents across the street from the homes they were illegally evicted from by the Israeli authorities. From the tent the settlers are clearly visible and making audacious displays of their ownership. One settler teenager is smiling as he joyfully rides on his razor scooter under the watchful eye of the Israeli police. The streets that the houses are on have been shut down for the past two days and are guarded by Israeli forces.

There has been a large international and local presence protesting the evictions and committed to standing with the families for the past two days and plan to continue coming to demonstrate their solidarity. However, when the protesters are done for the day and return to their homes, the al Hanoun and al Ghawi families must stay on the street.

The al Ghawi family consists of three brothers and their families. One of the brothers, Naser al Ghawi told us that he wanted to stay in the tent across from his house, he didn't want to move because "we have no where else to go".

His wife, Maysoun said, "I have a been here for 56 years and I have more right to be here than them...I'm going to stay here". In fact, Israel's eviction of the families is in contravention to the Fourth Geneva Convention because their houses are located in occupied East Jerusalem. An occupying force is prohibited from transferring their own people into occupied territory. The confiscation of private property by an occupying force is also forbidden.

When asked where their 20 month old child will be staying tonight, they responded, "the street".

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