Hebron Parade Celebrates Shop Owner Resilience, Sheik Jarrah Protests Continue
Crowds of activists paraded through the old city of Hebron on Saturday in celebration of the old city’s shop owners, who have kept their doors open despite increased pressure by the Israeli military to close up shop. A battalion of high-spirited drummers led a crowd of forty to fifty activists, who handed out certificates of appreciation to the many merchants who have refused to cave to the Israeli military’s increased intimidation and coercion. The Israeli army has been pressuring merchants in the old city to close their stores, blaming the weekly demonstrations in the old city for the increased harassment. By blaming the demonstrators the army has attempted to turn Palestinians against each other, sabotaging community ties and discouraging resistance. The parade’s primary message was that in a land were existence is resistance, the resilience of the old city’s merchants is an act of defiance, and an expression of solidarity against the occupation. The military did not confront the parade, and no injuries or arrests were reported.
Protesters also gathered in Sheik Jarrah today for the weekly demonstration against the ethnic cleansing of East Jerusalem. Approximately 200 activists gathered near the former homes of the al-Kurd, al-Ghawi and Hanoun families, all of whom were evicted by the Israeli government to make way for illegal Israeli settlers in 2008-2009. The police had closed the sidewalk near the Hanoun house, where demonstrators had gathered for much of last weeks demonstration, so the crowd gathered in a small park down the block, holding signs, beating drums and chanting against the settlers and evictions. At one point the crowd marched down the block to the home of the Sa’aw family, one of two new families to receive eviction orders this year. All five families are part of a group of twenty-eight houses facing eviction in Sheik Jarrah. The families are refugees from the 1948 war, and were given their homes in 1956 by the Jordanian government in collaboration with the United Nations Relief and Works Committee. The families have been fighting a 38 year legal battle to defend their homes, and though they have proven legal ownership of their houses the court has ruled in favor of the settlers.