Protest over Sheikh Jarrah house continues

Woman arrested after scuffle breaks out between police, foreign left-wing activists protesting Jews' entry to nearby home.

sheikh jarrah protest 248 88 (photo credit: Abe Selig)
sheikh jarrah protest 248 88
(photo credit: Abe Selig)
A woman was arrested in east Jerusalem's Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood on Monday evening, after a scuffle broke out between police and foreign left-wing activists who were protesting the entry of Jews into a nearby home the previous day. The house is the subject of a legal dispute in which the Jewish claimants, who say they purchased the property legally, have been granted the right to enter the premises, although a stop work order had been issued for the property and was scheduled to take effect at 5 p.m. on Tuesday. Sheikh Jarrah residents, however, said on Monday that the home had belonged to an elderly woman, Mrs. Hijazi, who had recently passed away, and that the Jewish claimants had falsified their ownership papers for the house. "We have papers dating back to the Turkish government that show this home to be Palestinian property," said Mitri Nasrawi, who works for the Coalition for Jerusalem, a Palestinian group. Monday's protest followed a larger demonstration in front of the house on Sunday afternoon, in which seven people were arrested - including a former Palestinian Authority minister for Jerusalem affairs, Hatem Abdel Kader - after activists and Arab residents clashed with police and the Jews, who had arrived to begin renovating the property. Activists and locals residents said on Monday they would not stop their protests until the group of Jews had left. Yelling "settlers out!" and "thieves!" the protesters congregated outside the home as police barred them from entering. After more than an hour, police began to push back the demonstrators, who were banging on sheet metal walls that had been set up around the property, setting off the scuffle. "You're terrorists!" some of the activists yelled as police began to clear the area. "We are here because you are fascists and terrorists!" But the feelings of local residents ran the gamut from dismay over the new Jewish presence in their neighborhood to downright outrage. One elderly man approached an Israeli reporter and asked him if "he was a Jew." "Yes," the reporter replied, as the man made a disgusted hand gesture and walked away. "I don't have any problem with Jews, I work with them and grew up around them," another resident, Osama Kedek, told The Jerusalem Post on Monday. "But this is just a provocation here. What would happen if a secular Jew went to live in Mea She'arim? I think there would be protests there as well." Kedek also said that while he appreciated the concern of the foreign activists, "it would be better if they used their energy to show their governments what Israel is doing to our neighborhoods." A handful of foreign reporters and even a French Embassy worker were on hand to document the demonstration. Etgar Lefkovits contributed to this report.