Elderly Palestinian couple evicted from Jerusalem home in night raid

Israeli police evicted a disabled Palestinian man and his wife from their East Jerusalem home of more than 50 years in a late-night raid early Nov. 9. The eviction followed a July Israeli supreme court order that found the home, provided to the couple in 1956 by the Jordanian government and a UN refugee program, was built on land they did not own. A Jewish land association said it has Ottoman-era documents proving the land originally was owned by Jews who fled in 1948 when Jordanian troops took East Jerusalem.

The wheelchair-bound Palestinian man, Mohammed al-Kurd, and his wife, Fawzieh, were removed from the building before dawn. The eviction came despite a plea by the US consulate to allow the couple to remain in their home. Now in their 60s, the al-Kurds became refugees when the newly established state of Israel took over their family holdings in West Jerusalem and in Jaffa. Palestinians and Israeli human rights groups protested the eviction. The BBC report made clear that the couple were forced to flee before they could even get dressed, much less collect their belongings. Thrown into the street in the pajamas, the couple are now living in a tent they have erected nearby.

“I will never forgive the Israelis for what they have done to me and my sick husband, kicking us out of our own house in the early hours of the morning. I may forgive other things they have done, but not this,” said Fawzieh al-Kurd.

In 2001, Jewish settlers moved into the extension the Kurd family had built for their son, and have now taken over the rest of the property. Daniel Luria of the East Jerusalem settlers association Ateret Cohanim said “nobody’s forcing anyone out—the courts ruled they were living there illegally”. (BBC News, Nov. 15; JTA, Nov. 11)

See our last posts on the Israel/Palestine and the struggle for Jerusalem.

  1. Israeli troops shut down press conference, beat activists
    From Ma’an News Agency, March 23:

    A woman and journalist were among those beaten by Israeli troops during a press conference in Sheikh Jarrah Monday afternoon.

    Several journalists reported being prevented from reaching the area, known as the protest tent, in Sheikh Jarrah where the Al-Kurd Family has taken up residence after being evicted from their home.

    The event was held as part of the Al-Quds Capital of Arab Culture events, and as a symbol of solidarity wtih the Al-Kurd family.

    Israeli troops detained 11, including Sheikh Raed Salah, the head of the Islamic Movement in Israel, and Khaled Zabaka, in addition to three foreign activists.

    Israeli forces demanded that the event be shut down, and dozens refused the order, including Sheikh Raed Salah the head of the Islamic party in Israel and Sheikh Ekremah Sabry the religious leader at Al-Aqsa Mosque.

    Israeli troops then descended on the activists, officials and media personnel and beat PalMedia journalist Hamza Na’agi, activist Abir Abu Khdeir, head of the Jerusalem center for social and economic rights Ziyad Al-Hamury and Salah Thyab a resident of the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood. The latter two were also detained.