Saturday, July 10, 2010

Sheikh Jarrah demonstration

Last Friday afternoon I went to the weekly demonstration at Sheikh Jarrah - an Arab neighborhood in east Jerusalem where Jewish settlers have taken over houses where Palestinians have been living for decades. The demonstration last week was peaceful, but that was not true yesterday, as I heard from several people who were there, who got shoved and elbowed by the Border Police. According to my friends, the police are openly on the side of the settlers and are uniformly hostile to the leftist demonstrators.

See this report in Haaretz: 'Unprecedented police brutality' at East Jerusalem protest.
Some 300 left-wing activists clashed with police on Friday during the weekly protest at the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah. Ten activists were detained and held for questioning over blocking roadways and failing to comply with police instructions. Every weekend, Israeli protesters demonstrate alongside the Arab locals against settler activity in the Arab neighborhood. The demonstrators decry the settlers' takeover of several homes in the area.

Participating in Friday's protest were renowned Israeli author David Grossman and former Meretz MK Zahava Gal-On.
The clash erupted when demonstrators tried to make their way to the contested homes in the neighborhood. Gal-On and Grossman said that they were pushed aggressively by police officers. Gal-On said that "it was one of the more violent events. We wanted to enter the neighborhood, but the police brutality was unprecedented." "They pushed, and I too got hit," Gal-On went on to say. "They just kicked the young people who were lying on the ground."

Gal-On added that former attorney general Michael Ben-Yair pleaded with the police to calm the situation, but they were uncooperative.

Some six weeks ago, several hundred Hebrew University students and lecturers marched from the Mount Scopus campus in Jerusalem to Sheikh Jarrah in protest over the settlers' takeover of local residents' homes. The protest march included such prominent professors as Ze'ev Sternhell, Yaron Ezrahi, Ariel Hirschfeld and others.

The protesters carried signs calling for and end to settlements in East Jerusalem. "Democracy stops at Sheikh Jarrah," some signs said, while others read "stop ethnic cleansing."
Update tonight from Ynet:
8 Sheikh Jarrah protesters ordered to keep away for 2 weeks

Eight Sheikh Jarrah protesters arrested Friday during demonstrations have been ordered to stay away from the neighborhood for two weeks. Police said indictments against the eight would be submitted. Protesters complained Friday that even though their demonstration was passive, police used violent means against them when they tried to approach the Shimon HaTzadik compound. (Shmulik Grossman)
See also the report in Ynet from yesterday: Leftists Clash with Police in Sheikh Jarrah

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