Scores of Palestinians were injured and over a dozen arrested by the Israeli security forces as they were protesting the encroachment of land belonging to a Palestinian family by Israeli settlers inside East Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah locality on Sunday, February 13.
The protesters were opposing the setting of a “camp” office by an ultra right-wing Jewish member of the Israeli parliament from the Religious Zionism party, Itamar Ben Gvir, on land belonging to the family of Khalil Salem. Gvir claimed that the “office” is being set up to force the Israeli security forces to take action to protect Jews in the locality.
Hundreds of local Palestinians gathered around Salem’s house and tried to remove the tents erected by Gvir’s supporters when Israeli security forces fired at them with rubber coated bullets, tear gas and sound bombs, Palestinian Wafa news agency reported. According to the Palestinian Red Crescent, at least 31 Palestinians were injured, with six of them hospitalized. The Israeli forces also arrested at least 13 Palestinians.
The residents of Sheikh Jarrah are confronting an intensifying, coordinated effort of settler and police violence in the past hours.
— Mohammed El-Kurd (@m7mdkurd) February 13, 2022
Early on Sunday morning, dozens of Israeli settlers, under the protection of the security forces, stormed the Sheikh Jarrah locality and attacked Palestinian families while trying to forcibly evict some of the residents. Some of these settlers erected tents on the lands of the Salem family, injuring some members of the family when they tried to resist.
According to eyewitnesses, journalists covering the event were attacked by the Israeli security forces with tear gas and stun grenades.
— Quds News Network (@QudsNen) February 13, 2022
Following the erection of tents and the Israeli forces’ refusal to remove them, the Palestinian Authority issued a statement condemning the opening of Gvir’s office in the locality, calling it a “provocative move.” It also asked the international community to intervene.
Hamas warned that the “blatant aggression” and attacks by the settlers on Sheikh Jarrah can cause wider confrontations across Palestine.
Save Sheikh Jarrah
Khalil Salem’s family has received an eviction notice from Israeli authorities. Theirs is yet another family in the locality which is facing imminent threat of forcible displacement. Seven other families in the locality are already facing similar threats after an Israeli court recognized the ownership of a Jewish settler group on their land.
The residents and activists have been organizing the Save Sheikh Jarrah movement since May last year, claiming that the forcible eviction of Palestinians from the area is part of a larger process of Judaization of East Jerusalem through ethnic cleansing by the Zionist government of Israel.
— Hanan Ashrawi (@DrHananAshrawi) February 13, 2022
Most of the residents of Sheikh Jarrah are refugees who were forced out of their homes by Zionist militias during the 1948 Nakba at the time of the creation of the state of Israel. The resettlement of these families in the locality was done according to the agreement between Jordan, then administering the region, and the UN Palestinian refugee agency UNRWA.
Following the attack on Sunday, several protests were also organized in solidarity with Sheikh Jarrah residents in different other parts of the occupied territories.