Israeli Police Detain Palestinian Activist Twins From East Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah
Israeli police detained two prominent Palestinian activists on Sunday who have become the face of a campaign to halt Palestinian evictions from a flashpoint East Jerusalem neighborhood, where Palestinian families are refusing to vacate properties owned by Jews who were dispossessed in 1948 during Israel’s War of Independence.
Supporters of Muna and Mohammed El-Kurd, who are twins, say their detention is part of a broader Israeli effort to halt opposition to the evictions in Sheikh Jarrah.
Without explicitly naming Muna El-Kurd, 23, an Israeli police spokeswoman said “police arrested under court order a suspect (23) who is a resident of East Jerusalem, on suspicion of participating in riots that took place in Sheikh Jarrah recently.”
Footage on social media showed her handcuffed and being escorted out of her home by Israeli officers earlier on Sunday.
Police did not immediately comment on her twin brother Mohammed, who turned himself in at a police station in East Jerusalem after receiving a police summons.
“What’s happening is that they (Israel) want to quiet all of our voices in Jerusalem,” said their father, Nabil El-Kurd, calling on Palestinian youth to protest outside the police station on East Jerusalem’s Salah Al-Din street.
The detentions comes a day after police in Sheikh Jarrah arrested a reporter with Qatar-based media network Al Jazeera who had been covering a protest there.
In October of last year, an Israeli court ruled that the properties belonged to the Jewish claimants. Palestinians are appealing the decision at Israel’s Supreme Court, and the evictions are currently on hold.
Anger over the proposed evictions helped spark 11 days of violence in May between Israel and Palestinian terrorists in Gaza, whose Islamist rulers Hamas have called Israeli policy in East Jerusalem a “red line.”
Tensions could flare further in Jerusalem this week, when a Jewish right-wing march is expected to pass through the Old City’s Damascus Gate. A similar march, its route diverted at the last minute, was held the same day that the Israel-Gaza fighting broke out.