Hundreds of Israeli peace activists, among them members of Hadash, marched from central West Jerusalem to Sheikh Jarrah, a Palestinian neighborhood in occupied East Jerusalem, on Friday, January 18, in solidarity with the families there who Israeli authorities want to evict.
In late November, Israel’s Supreme Court rejected the Sabag and Hamad families’ appeals against their evictions. Residents of Sheikh Jarrah fear that decision could lead to a new wave of evictions affecting as many as 11 families and 500 people. “We were shocked,” Muhammad Sabag, 74, said in an interview to + 972 website in December. “We waited for a decision for a long time, but we were not ready for such a blow.”
Residents of the neighborhood and activists with Free Jerusalem, a group organizing against Israel’s military occupation, initiated Friday’s action in order to bring attention to the families’ cases and to try to stop their evictions. Other organizations, including Peace Now and Combatants for Peace, also participated in the protest, said Sahar Vardi, an organizer with Free Jerusalem.
When demonstrators reached the neighborhood, Palestinian residents and organizers joined the action. Toward the end of the protest, while activists were standing outside one of the homes of the families facing eviction, Israeli police attacked a man holding a Palestinian flag. Activists then stood between the man and police forces, and began chanting “End the occupation” until police backed off.