Sheikh Jarrah protest against expropriations: two Palestinian activists arrested

Twins Muna El-Kurd and Mohammed El-Kurd, aged 23, were held for a few hours, interrogated and released. Their family is among those who are in danger of being thrown out of their homes in East Jerusalem. An al-Jazeera journalist who was following the protests was also arrested.


Jerusalem (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The Israeli police have arrested and detained for several hours, and then released, two prominent Palestinian activists, protagonists in recent weeks of the protest campaign against expropriations in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood in East Jerusalem.

The story first exploded in early May in conjunction with the trial on the ownership of some houses, which raised the concern of the Church of the Holy Land and triggered - along with other factors – the outbreak of a bloody war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.

Videos were posted yesterday on social media showing 23-year-old Muna El-Kurd, belonging to one of the families who risk the expropriation of their home following the legal dispute opened by Jewish settlers, handcuffed and taken from her home by Israeli officials.

A few hours later, her twin Mohammed El-Kurd was also summoned to a police station for questioning. Both were released in the evening, as confirmed by the father of the two Palestinian activists.

Without directly mentioning Muna El-Kurd's name, an Israeli police spokesperson confirmed the arrest of a 23-year-old East Jerusalem resident on suspicion of having participated in recent protests in Sheikh Jarrah.

The agents did not mention his twin Mohammed El-Kurd, who appeared a few hours later in a live Instagram showing him leaving the police station accompanied by his parent Nabil El-Kurd.

Human rights activists and NGOs say their detention is part of a broader Israeli-sponsored comrade to target those who oppose expropriations in the disputed neighbourhood in East Jerusalem. "It is clear - said Muna El-Kurd in the hours following the release - that these are policies to silence people, they are policies designed to put pressure and scare people".

The arrest of the twins came the day after the arrest, also in Sheikh Jarrah, of a journalist from the Qatar-based network al-Jazeera, who was following the protest for his own broadcaster.

The legal controversy arose after a complaint filed by some Jewish settlers, according to which eight Palestinian families illegally occupy houses and land "once belonging to Jews". The palestinians have appealed to the Israeli Supreme Court against evictions; the verdict of the judges was repeatedly postponed due to tensions, which then resulted in a real conflict.

The area is on high in anticipation of the march scheduled for the week by the Jewish right, which intends to cross the Damascus gate in the Old City.

One month ago the same march was interrupted shortly after the start, due to serious unrest on the Temple Mount which then triggered the conflict between Israel and Hamas (together with Islamic Jihad) in the Strip.

The aim of the demonstration, scheduled for June 10 and condemned by the Palestinian National Authority and Hamas, is to celebrate the reunification of Jerusalem in the aftermath of the 1967 Six Day War.

ISRAELE_-_PALESTINA_-_attivisti_ok.JPG