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April 15, 2009

Rally protests Jerusalem home demolitions

Arabs, Jews join forces to demonstrate against home demolitions in east Jerusalem

Ronen Medzini


About 150 Jews, international human rights activists, and local Arabs hit the streets in east Jerusalem’s Silwan neighborhood Saturday to protest demolition orders for homes in the area.

The protesters rallied under the slogan: “Jews and Arabs against house demolitions.”

One of the stops in the march was the ruins of a home razed two weeks ago. “Under these ruins, you can still find the furniture of a whole family, with five daughters, that has no other home,” one protester declared. “This is an act by (Jerusalem Mayor) Barkat, who in his first day on the job already decided to raze homes, and is going to continue razing homes in the area.”

One of the protest organizers, Abdul Halik Shaludi, told Ynet that back in 2005 city hall issued demolition orders for 88 homes.

“We set up a protest tent back then that lasted almost five months, until the previous mayor agreed to sit with us and gave us the opportunity to create a master plan, at our expense,” he said. “We did everything, paid $77,000 from our own pocket, yet 40 days ago we were summoned by the Interior Ministry and told that they’re rejecting our plan because it contradicts city hall’s policy. The next day we erected our current protest tent, which draws people from all over the world.”

Blaming the settlers

The local activist says Mayor Barkat adopted the plans of settlers who plan to take over the neighborhood.

“It’s obviously a political story aimed at kicking us out of the eastern part of the city,” Shaludi said. “Today, almost 300 settlers live in Silwan, and every time they come in and buy another part of the neighborhood in ways that are not kosher.”

The issue of house demolitions in eastern Jerusalem was addressed by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recently. The demolitions are not helpful, Clinton said at the beginning of the month, adding that the US Administration is monitoring the issue vis-à-vis the Israeli government and Jerusalem city hall.


A call from Gaza

Please forward widely….

Dear Everyone:

Please take a few minutes to read the call-out below from a broad Gaza-based prisoner solidarity campaign made up of a coalition of prisoner rights groups, local and international activists, prisoner families and Ministry of Detainees representatives in Gaza.


Friday April 17th is the international day of solidarity with Palestinian prisoners. Just over 11,000 are behind bars in occupation prisons inside the apartheid lines and outside the ghetto walls of the West Bank and Gaza.

Prisoners are a community under siege which represents every faction in Palestine. Solidarity between prisoners inside Israeli jails crosses all political borders. They have sacrificed their individual freedom for collective freedom.

From taking direct action to symbolic gestures (in the case if prisoner campaigns, simple visual solidarity gestures drawing public attention to the struggle of prisoners is always effective in keeping memories, spirit and solidarity alive). Please take action this week! And email us about it…
April 17th is the international day of solidarity with Palestinian prisoners. These over 11,000 men, women and children are ghost prisoners, forgotten by the international community and media which has focused on the systematic and physical psychological torture of prisoners in high profile camps such as Guantanamo Bay but has largely ignored the network of Israel’s ‘Guantanamos’ inside ‘Israel’.


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