“If I don’t steal your home, someone else will steal it”. This was the answer given by an Israeli settler to Mona al-Kurd, a Palestinian woman who accused him of stealing her home in Sheikh Jarrah’s neighborhood in the occupied East Jerusalem.
Al-Kurd is one of the dozens of Palestinian families whose homes were taken over by settlers in the neighborhood in the past years.
In the past months, the Israeli Central Court in East Jerusalem ratified eviction orders for seven Palestinian families from their homes in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in favor of settlers.
On Sunday, Israel’s Supreme Court postponed its ruling regarding the Jerusalemite families threatened with eviction from their homes in the neighborhood in favor of settlement associations. The court gave the two sides four days until Thursday to reach an agreement between them before issuing its final decision.
The Palestinians say they established their homes in 1956 under an agreement with the Jordanian government and the UN refugee agency UNRWA.
However, Israeli settlement groups claim that Palestinian families built their homes on land owned by Jews before 1948 and that they must vacate these homes.
In the last years, Palestinians evacuated three homes in the neighborhood, after Israeli court decisions. There are 38 Palestinian families are currently under the threat of eviction.
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Palestinian activists posted on social networks a video of a dialogue between al-Kurd and an Israeli settler, who is identified as Jacob.
In the video, Al-Kurd, who wears a headscarf, is heard telling the settler in English, “Jacob, you know that this is not your home.”
The settler, who wears a kippah, replied in English while he was in the garden of the al-Kurd’s home, “Yes, but you know that even if I go out, you will not return to it, so what is your problem? I did not do that.”
This response provoked al-Kurd, who told him “you are stealing my house.”
Jacob replied: “If I don’t steal it, someone else will steal it.”
This response disturbed al-Kurd, who shouted, “No one is allowed to steal my home.”
Then Jacob said in Hebrew, “This is not mine in order to return it.”
In recent months, the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood saw a series of sit-ins by Palestinians to protest Israeli orders for them to evacuate their homes.
Writing by Mahmoud Barakat