after school i got on a service to head to al quds. my dear friend who lives in the old city lives a couple of doors down from the jaber family. nasser jaber has been asking for foreigners to come and stay here to help in case anything happens. unfortunately, i haven’t been able to come until now because of work. but i have been writing about the jaber family and about the situation here in the old city, but like everything in palestine hearing my friend tell me about it every day or reading about it is nothing like seeing it up close and personal.
first some context. here is the overall situation as the international solidarity movement (ism) reported it at the beginning of the month:
On the 2nd of April at 2am, at least seven armed Israeli settlers took over a Palestinian residence on al-Malwiyeh Street in Jerusalem’s old city. The house’s owner, Nasser Jaber, was away for four nights while the building was being renovated. The settlers arrived in the early morning, breaking open the door and changing the locks. A neighbor called Nasser to tell him that his house was being invaded, and Nasser called the police.
When the police arrived around 3am, they protected the settlers and allowed them to complete their takeover unhindered. Police claim that the settlers will be allowed to stay in the house until an Israeli court has made a decision over whether they are to be evicted. Nasser and another resident protested the takeover on the street outside of their home, and they were promptly arrested. Police released the two men after two hours. Nasser has presented his ownership documents to the Israeli court. The court says it will reach a decision as to who owns the house on Sunday. In the afternoon, police were seen giving food and electrical equipment to the settlers inside of Nasser’s house.
This most recent takeover follows months of increased settler activity in occupied East Jerusalem. Palestinian residents in Jerusalem’s old city, Sheikh Jarrah, Silwan, and elsewhere often face eviction, with settlers given ownership of their houses.
when i first got here and went to their home i was outraged and shocked. but, of course, that is a normal feeling one has when one lives in palestine. but let me back up a bit before i proceed. i used to live in the old city of al quds near the damascus gate. my friend lives not too far away closer to herod’s gate. all homes in the old city of al quds–like most old cities i’ve been in–have a particular layout or floor plan. in the center of the home it is an open courtyard or patio that is open to the sky. and off of this patio are all of the rooms–the various apartments or the kitchen or the bathroom. so the center of the home is outside and it creates a kind of shared space, which is ideal when one family lives in that space together. the jaber family home is like this, too. nasser jaber lives there with his family, but there are 3 other parts of the jaber family who live in this home that israeli terrorist colonists have been trying to take over.
and today they succeeded in taking over one of the apartments of this home: a court of the zionist entity ruled today that the jaber family and the israeli terrorists each get to have one set of guards. the israeli terrorist colonists, have armed guards, however, and the jabers are not allowed to have weapons. there is another court hearing scheduled for this coming week on wednesday.
you can kind of get a feeling for what i mean if you watch this brief video of the israeli terrorist colonists taken by international activists:
i wrote earlier today that the israeli terrorists decided that only men above the age of 50 would be allowed to pray inside al aqsa today. in fact, when i arrived i realized that the news reported information that was a bit off. it was the entire old city that was closed to men under the age of 50. it was entirely barricaded. as a foreigner, i was allowed inside, but jacky rowland reported on this for al jazeera, in the context of u.s. envoy george mitchell who arrived here to meet with israeli terrorists like avigdor lieberman (you can see him smiling and shaking their hands):
interestingly, rowland called avigdor lieberman “mr. no” and highlighted his 3 no’s: no to jerusalem, no to evacuating settlements in the west bank (especially given the fact that he is one of those settlers residing in the west bank and of course that means in 1948 palestine too), and no to a palestinian state. ironically, the israeli terrorists demand that they get such recognition:
so i thought i’d remind readers the important and necessary palestinian no’s from khartoum: