Outrage in Sheikh Jarrah
In the early hours of Wednesday, January 19, a large force of Israeli police evicted the Salhiyeh family in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, arresting at least eighteen family members, friends, and Palestinian and Israeli activists, and razing their home to the ground. The family had lived there for many decades, since before Israel’s capture of the area in 1967. The ostensible grounds for the eviction were that a school is to be built on the site to serve the local Palestinian Arab population—though another suitable building, as well as vacant land, are available nearby.
Unlike most of the controversial evictions threatened in Sheikh Jarrah, the plaintiff in this case was the Jerusalem municipality, not a settler organization. The city and the family had been engaged in negotiations for a compromise, which were ended by the violent eviction. The Salhiyeh family had originally lived in Ein Kerem in West Jerusalem, from which they fled in 1948. Unlike Jewish families who were dispossessed in 1948, however, Arab families are unable to reclaim their property or even receive restitution.
We applaud the work of Meretz Knesset members, including Mossi Raz, Michal Rozin, and Gaby Laski, who have been active for years, protesting the evictions and trying to protect the families. On Wednesday night they demonstrated outside the home of Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Leon, where MK Raz was the victim of unacceptable police violence.
Partners for Progressive Israel has been at the forefront of publicizing and condemning the evictions in Sheikh Jarrah and elsewhere. Our Kolot partner organizations in Israel, including Ir Amim and Standing Together, are actively working against all these dispossessions.
As concerned American Jews with deep ties to Israel, including a conviction that the State of Israel can and must provide fairness and justice to ALL its inhabitants, we will continue our protests through all avenues available to us.
We will keep our supporters current on pending activities in support of the families who have been evicted and those who are still facing threats of imminent dispossession. A major focus of this will involve building support for Rep. Andy Levin’s Two State Solution Act, which was introduced last year.
Meretz is part of the same government that is authorizing these expulsions. It is no longer in opposition, so it shares in the responsibilty for what is happening just as much as Bennett is. Making a show of a few Meretz MKs protesting the expulsions is just a cynical deflection from Meretz’s complicity in these events.