Palestinians evicted by Israel spend outside in Ramadan for 3rd day

Evicted Palestinian al-Ghawi family spent another night camped outside their former home in 3rd night of Ramadan.

Palestinians evicted by Israel spend outside in Ramadan for 3rd day


Fresh dates and chicken soup were served up at dusk on the sidewalk in the well-heeled suburb of Sheik Jarrah this week, as the evicted Palestinian al-Ghawi family spent another night camped outside their former home.

Their stone house in Arab east Quds, in a district of consulates and trendy restaurants, is now home to Jewish settlers, who moved in as they were being kicked out on Aug 2.

The al-Ghawi and al-Hanoun families who were evicted have been living in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood since 1956.

Israel has reportedly set aside the land their houses were built on for a planned hotel project.

The furniture and belongings of the seven-member family were tossed on the street. Their neighbour offered shelter.

But the al-Ghawis refuse to give up and go away. On the third day of Ramadan, when the one and half billion Muslims across world fast from dawn to dusk, they gathered with a group of supporters for the traditional evening meal.

Eaten exactly at dusk to break a day of fasting, iftar is usually a home-cooked meal eaten inside the home.

The al-Ghawis had takeout, on the sidewalk.

Israel occupied East Quds after the 1967 Middle East war, a move never recognised internationally.

Sheikh Jarrah is one of the most sensitive neighbourhoods closest to the so-called Green Line which separates east and west Quds, with the fate of the city one of the thorniest issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said Jews have a right to live anywhere in the city. Palestinians see East Quds as their capital of a state.

Sheik Jarrah

The city is home to Al-Aqsa Mosque, the Muslims' first Qiblah [direction Muslims take during prayers] and the third holiest shrine after Al Ka'bah in Makkah and Prophet Muhammad's Mosque in Madinah, Saudi Arabia.

Its significance has been reinforced by the incident of Al Isra'a and Al Mi'raj — the night journey from Makkah to Al-Quds and the ascent to the Heavens by Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him).

Al-Quds is also home to some of the holiest Christian worship places, including the Quds Church and the Greek Orthodox Church.

Israeli police who turned the family out of their home said they were acting on eviction orders issued by an Israeli court, which had upheld a settler organisation's land ownership claim based on 19th-century documents.

Israel took the step in the midst of a dispute with the United States over President Barack Obama's insistance to halt Jewish settlement expansion in the occupied West Bank and East Quds.

Among supporters of the evicted family on Monday evening was Rafiq al-Husseini, chief of staff of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

"We are here to make sure that they don't have iftar on their own, that we are in full support and solidarity with them," he told Reuters in a makeshift protest tent outside the house.

Solidarity with evicted family

Fifteen minutes before the minaret's call to eat, Nasser al-Ghawi set the table with packaged food, plastic silverware, and bottled water -- a donation from a nearby restaurant.

The Grand Mufti of Quds, Mohammed Hussein, was also present for the iftar meal and celebration.

"We would like to tell the world that we are here, yes, on the street, but we are in front of it. And we cling to our right to these homes, and we don't accept an alternative. Eventually, justice must and will come," he said.

Maysoon al-Ghawi, mother of five, said losing her home has changed her outlook on the future.

"Our dreams and our plans for the future have all been cancelled," she said, cradling two-year-old Sarah.

Ramadan, she said, is supposed to be a stable time for the family to spend time together, the time to buy the children promised toys, and new clothes. Instead, she must go to her neighbour's home to bathe them and wash their clothes.

"I feel incompetent and incapable of doing anything for my children, because I have nothing left," she said.

With summer nearly over, and school about to begin, Maysoon said she had still not bought her children's schoolbooks.

"Where would I put them? On the street?"


Last Mod: 25 Ağustos 2009, 15:55
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