Several hundred leftist activists, among them members of Hadash and the Communist Party of Israel, demonstrated on Friday afternoon, April 16, alongside and in solidarity with local residents against the pending evictions of Palestinian refugee families from the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, the Zo Haderech website has reported.
Last Friday’s demonstration saw a higher turnout than usual for the weekly event, spurred in part by the beating of Joint List MK Ofer Cassif (Hadash) by police a week earlier. The police brutality drew condemnation from lawmakers across the political spectrum who deemed it a violation of Cassif’s parliamentary immunity. Consequently, among those demonstrating against the eviction of Palestinians from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah on Friday the 16th were Joint List MKs Cassif and Aida Touma-Sliman (both from Hadah) and Ahmad Tibi (Ta’al), as well as MK Mossi Raz (Meretz). The demonstration briefly turned aggressive, with confrontations between protesters and Jewish settlers now living in homes formerly inhabited by Palestinian residents.
The evictions from Sheikh Jarrah and the accompanying protests have been going on for years and are part of a long history of demographic engineering in Jerusalem to create a Jewish majority. Israeli settlers, with the backing of the state’s courts, military and police, have been displacing Palestinians from their homes for decades. Since 1972, residents of Sheikh Jarrah have resisted efforts by settler organizations to seize their properties.
According to Ir Amim, a Jerusalem-based NGO, some 600 eviction files — including those pertaining to the homes of 75 Palestinian families residing in Sheikh Jarrah — are currently being examined by Israel’s Justice Ministry.