turfed out

A few weeks ago, while I was in Israel and Palestine, I wrote about an Arab family from East Jerusalem who were about to be evicted from their home of 52 years to make way for the Jewish settlers who are gradually taking over their neighbourhood.

Well, it happened yesterday. During the early hours of Sunday, police threw the Al-Kurd family out of their home in Sheik Jarrar. The house had originally been built for Palestinian refugees by the UN, when East Jerusalem was occupied by Jordan and not Israel.

The Jewish community who now live there claim the land was previously owned by Jews and is rightfully theirs. They have now acted – with the support of the authorities – despite several court rulings to the contrary.

The wife, Fawazieh Al Kurd, pictured, was incredibly calm about the situation that was brewing when I visited her in late September.

As observant Muslims, she and her husband were putting their trust in God, she said. But she did make the point that land property rights should benefit all residents – and not just Israel’s Jewish community.

Her family, orignally from West Jerusalem, and her husband’s – internally displaced from Jaffa – both lost their homes to Israelis in the upheaval and war that followed the state’s creation in 1948.

“I’ll get through this because I believe in God and I have never harmed anyone. God will decide what happens to us, and whatever they do, I won’t do anything back to them. God will punish them [the settlers], not me,” she told me.

“If they own this property, fine. But it works both ways and Israel should give us back our property too. We lost a lot in 1948. My family was living on the other side of Jerusalem and was chased out of there.

“My husband is a refugee from Jaffa – his family has a three-floor building there. Now it looks like we’re going to be refugees twice.”