Hundreds protest Sheikh Jarrah evictions

Police arrest member of Rabbis for Human Rights.

sheikh jarrah protest 248 88 (photo credit: Abe Selig)
sheikh jarrah protest 248 88
(photo credit: Abe Selig)
Hundreds of left-wing activists from Israel and abroad joined dozens of residents of east Jerusalem's Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood Monday evening to protest last week's eviction of the Hanoun and al-Gawhi families from their homes. The protest began peacefully at 8 p.m. with a candlelight vigil in front of the Hanoun family home. A global church delegation sang "We Shall Overcome," and demonstrators waved signs reading "No to ethnic cleansing in Sheikh Jarrah" and "Why do you steal our homes?" and containing quotes from a letter Hanoun sent Monday to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The evicted families were among the protesters. Police were present at the scene, but didn't take any action until the protesters began to move toward the al-Gawhi home, led by Rabbi Arik Ascherman of Rabbis for Human Rights. Police then moved in and arrested Ascherman, restraining both his arms and legs, and began to disperse the crowd. The protesters regrouped about a block away from the al-Gawhi home, their mood markedly more tense. Spotting a group of Orthodox Jews returning from prayers at the tomb of Shimon Hazaddik, the protesters hurled abuse at them, shouting, "Get out, Jew!" in Arabic. This, together with the size of the crowd - which included many people taking pictures or filming - left them visibly shaken. The crowd also jeered when a bus full of IDF officers passing through the area stalled nearby, with the protesters making rude gestures and name-calling. By press time, protesters were still in the area, but many had left, and the demonstration seemed to be on the wane. There was no response from police on whether or not Ascherman would be charged.