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International day of solidarity with East Jerusalem residents facing eviction or demolition of their homes

From ISM

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12 pm, Monday, 13 July 2009: Israeli and international solidarity activists will set up tents on King George St. in West Jerusalem as part of a coordinated campaign in solidarity with Palestinians facing home evictions and demolitions in East Jerusalem.

4 pm, Monday 13 July 2009: A press conference will be held at the Sheikh Jarrah protest tent.

Speakers will include:
Sheikh Raed Salah – President of the Islamic Movement inside the Green Line
Mr. Maher Hanoun – Owner of one of the house in danger of eviction, Sheikh Jarrah
Mr. Fakhrie Abu Diab – Owner of one of the houses in danger of demolition, Al Bustan , Silwan

Maher Hannoun, a Sheikh Jarrah resident facing eviction and imprisonment, said:

As refugees and people living under occupation, we are asking the Israeli and international public to help us with our struggle for our rights. It is unbelievable that in the 21st century, Israel’s authorities can get away with demolishing the homes of Palestinians in order to build settlements or national parks. The price we and our neighbours have to pay is too high, we are faced with two impossible choices – either we throw our kids out on the street or we go to prison. If we lose our homes, there is nowhere else for us to go, the only option we have is to live in tents.

Later in the evening a play for children by the Sanabel theatre will be held at the tent.

Similar actions will be happening on the same day in the USA, the UK, Sweden, the Czech Republic, Ireland, France, Spain, Denmark, Holland and Egypt.

Tents have become a powerful symbol of the struggle of Palestinian people living in occupied East Jerusalem. They have been set up as centers of protest in neighbourhoods threatened by Israel’s policy of ethnically cleansing East Jerusalem of its Palestinian population through house evictions and demolitions. A number of the tents, notably the one in Sheikh Jarrah, have been built by Palestinian residents forcibly displaced as a result of this policy. Palestinians, who became refugees in 1948 & 1967 are, once again, facing dispossession from their homes and land as the international community stands by.

The neighbourhoods most severely affected are Sheikh Jarrah, Silwan, Ras Khamiis, Al Tur and Sur Beher however house evictions and demolitions are not uncommon in the Old City itself. In Silwan, 88 homes in the al Bustan quarter are facing immediate destruction in order to create space for a planned national park. A total of 1500 residents would be displaced if this plan went ahead. In Sheikh Jarrah, 28 families are living under the threat of house evictions which are part of a plan to implant a new Jewish settlement in the area, close to the Old City. After the Al Kurd family has been forcibly removed from their home in November 2008, it is now the turn of the al-Ghawe and Hannoun families who face imminent eviction, while others are awaiting further court decisions. Fathers of the two families with current eviction orders also face imprisonment, should they not leave the houses voluntarily by the deadline (19th July) issued by the latest court hearing.

In Beit Hanina, Al Tur, Ath Thuri and Wadi Yasul, a combined total of more than 3,600 persons are affected by pending demolition orders – this includes two apartment buildings in Al Abbasiyya, housing 34 families.

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