Elders Carter, Robinson 311.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
Former US president Jimmy Carter visited Sheikh Jarrah in east Jerusalem on
Friday afternoon, briefly joining a weekly protest outside the houses of three
Arab families evicted in 2009 and telling some 300 demonstrators that the
evictions had not been “fair or just or peaceful.”
RELATED:Robinson, Carter encourage non-violent HamasSheikh Jarrah Palestinians fear new evictions
“On behalf of The
Elders, we have come here to give thanks and congratulations to those Israelis
and Palestinians and Christians, all of whom are trying to resolve this
injustice peacefully and with demonstrations of commitment to justice and to
equality and to fair treatment,” Carter told the crowd.
Carter was joined
by former Irish president Mary Robinson and Indian women’s’ rights activist Ela
Bhatt. They are all members of The Elders, a group of world leaders who lend
their “influence and experience” to conflict areas around the world, and were in
Israel for three days as part of a region-wide tour that included Gaza, Jordan,
Egypt and Syria.
Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity Movement volunteer Avner Inbar
said Carter’s visit had been “a tremendous boost to the struggle against
discrimination and dispossession in Sheikh Jarrah and in other places in east
Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity Movement has organized weekly
protests in Sheikh Jarrah since November 2009, to protest the eviction of three
families whose homes are now inhabited by Jewish families.
in Sheikh Jarrah centers around families who were resettled by UNRWA in Sheikh
Jarrah in 1956 as part of a joint effort by the UN and Jordan to find homes for
Arab residents who fled west Jerusalem in 1948.
In a separate incident,
Carter’s convoy was briefly interrupted late on Thursday night near the American
Colony Hotel in Sheikh Jarrah.
An Arab east Jerusalem resident driving a
private car was able to infiltrate his convoy of security vehicles. The convoy
was stopped and security guards emerged from vehicles with their weapons raised.
Police who were securing the area took the driver for questioning, and the
convoy continued without incident.
During The Elders’ visit to Jerusalem,
the group said it had “low expectations” of the current peace negotiations
between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. On a tour of Silwan, Carter
reiterated his belief that east Jerusalem should be the capital of a Palestinian
state under Palestinian control.
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat slammed
“I asked The Elders how they can celebrate the
reunification of Berlin while at the same time advocate the division of
Jerusalem,” Barkat said in a statement. “It is the ultimate inconsistency.”