Palestinians are pushed to violence- thoughts on last friday's protests

After "chaime soumoud a-zaitoun" tent was taken down, I saw the members of Abu Nir's family sitting on the bare land that was taken to them, having heard just moments before : "this land is no longer yours", they began singing "Bilady, Bilady" – our land, our land. Once again, I was so ashamed to be an Israeli, to share a nationality with the people who just sent two armed brigades to tear down a protest tent.

Later on, I visited Shekh Jarrakh weekly protest vigil, and met Mahmoud Ayoub Shamasne. Mahoumoud Ayoub Shamasne and his family are awaiting an eviction order dating to 1.3.2013, His family consists of 10 people, his two elderly parents,  over 80 years old included in this count. This is the second nakba as Shamasne said and it is happening everywhere in east Jerusalem. No need to physically torture or kill people although they do it as well quite often, It is enough to break people's spirit, take away their shelter, their dignity, their freedom to protest. It is enough to push people out, drive them away, deprive them from rights and services, humiliate them. I have seen the sadness, the despair, the silent acceptance of cruel fate and I wanted to be the first person to  throw a stone, the first to hurl a molotov cocktail, because it seems that the Israeli occupation forces speak no other language but force and know no other way.2013-01-25 14.10.02

Mahmoud Ayoub Shamasne: This is the beginning of the second Nakba

2013-01-25 16.00.57

(Loosely adapted transcript, full subtitles version to be released soon)

Before 67' occupation, we signed the rent contracts with the Jordanian guardian . After the 67' occupation, the Israelis took the assets under their custody. We renewed the rent contract annually. On 2009 the Israeli guardian told us that the alleged original owner of the house passed away and that his 4 heirs refuse to allow us to renew the rent contract. He said that the heirs want us to evacuate the property. We appealed to court.We presented every proof we had. Court ruled against us, we were told we must evacuated. We appealed again to the regional court. Our appeal was rejected. We re-appealed to the supreme court, and we are waiting for their response. We need to know if the supreme court is willing to discuss our case or is it slamming its door on us. What I wanted to tell you is – if I need to evict my home because it was formely owned by a Jew- what should all the Jewish people who live in Palestinian houses, in Lifta, in Talbiyeh do? Should they not do the same? I wanted to add another thing- you probably know the current situation in East Jerusalem. Virtually, the second Nakba already started.
The eviction warrant is dated to the 1 of March. In 40 days. There are 10 people living in this house. We will evacuate ourselves to the red cross. Set up a tent there. We thank you for coming and we work out to recruit more support from the neighborhood.
Noah Beninga (translating Ismail Khatib): This is not just the personal case of Shamasne, there are plans to develop the neighborhood into a settlement, build roads to connect in to other neighborhoods. We own thousands of houses in the west of Jerusalem. Sheikh Jarrakh is an arab neighboorhood and we will not give it up. We continue to struggle here in Sheikh Jarrakh, Ras Al Amoud, Shuaafat. Shamasne needs to be here all the time, he is under threat
Shamasne: The guardian scams people, especially the elders. He makes them sign unprotected rental contract in hebrew they couldn't read. 5 people lost their houses this way. He made my father sign a contract like that.

We meet the occupation face to face 5 times a day- Issawiyah.

"We see the occupation forces five times a day. They are driving up and down, their guns pointed at us. This is because they are afraid that if Samer Rihawi dies, clashes will abrupt .here..

We see them so often we are not afraid of them anymore.

This will not bring peace and safety… treating people well will … but oppression and brutality only lead to more oppression and brutality…

we are also missing 25 classrooms… some children are learning in caravans… we asked the municipality, why we don't get the same resources as the nearby neighborhood, they  told us – the other neighborhood got this from their benefits from the contractor (laughter)  perhaps  we should have hired their contractor..

(adapted conversation with our local contacts ).

Meeting Mouhamad Shamasne

Read about the threat of A-Shamsne family eviction

When they will come to evict you, I will be there, but I don't want this to happen at all. I don't want to helplessly witness another eviction. Evicted people remind me of uprooted trees, fish outside their own water. The Israeli Justice system that I know lets the strong feed on the flesh and blood of those who are weaker. It is the same judiciary system that did me wrong, I am afraid it might do you wrong too, throw you out of the place you and your family have been living in over decades of years.

I enjoy walking in East Jerusalem, making small purchases of goods, drinking Arabian coffee from one of the stands, staring at the paddlers and their commodities , smelling the fruit. I enjoy being a tourist, a guest, an observer at a land that isn't mine, a land that might not welcome me at every occasion. Side by side with the joy I feel hanging around, I feel obligated to support the right of the people on this land to live their lives in dignity, as they choose.  Having no significant spot in the top of the activist food chain, I find it difficult to recruit people, to help spreading word to wider circles, to organize effective actions, although sometimes my feet do carry me to the places where I should be. I met Mouhamad Shamsne during Sheikh Jarrakh weekly protest vigil. I heard something vague about a planned eviction in Sheikh Jarrakh but I didn't know him in person until today. Mouhamad was talking to Noah Beninga, brother of Sara Beninga, a Jerusalemite activist. Noah introduced me to Mouhamad, "Here is a girl that dreams to barricade herself with gas balloons at your place" he told Mouhamad,  Mouhamad said the eviction order he received is dated to 1.1.2013. This means only two months left to prevent the upcoming eviction, if possible. There are only two months left. Mouhamad A- Shamasne told me he wrote letters in English to several embassies in Jerusalem and  that he was visited by severls news networks, including Al Jazeera. Yet so far I, as in person, don't feel that his story is widley disseminated as it should be,

One would ask- why take an action on behalf of Shamasne family while so many Palestinians are facing a threat of eviction or being evicted as these words are being written?" I would reply with a simple answer, because he asked us to, and because to me, he is a homey. I live in Jerusalem, this is the city where I grew up in, and what I see here is apartheid, racial discrimination, colonialism,  ethnic cleansing. I can't and I won't live in this. The upcoming eviction of A-Shamasne family is a part of silent process of gentrification, an attempt to judaize East Jerusalem, make the Palestinian people leave- willingly or not, or force them to accept Israeli ID.  We can't be at any place people are being beaten, arrested, harassed, denied of rights to earn their living and keep their property, but we can show our support to the Shamasne family by showing up to the weekly protest vigil in Sheikh Jarrah, garden, at the corner of Derekh Shchem and Delman street, 18.1.2013 at 15:00.

Please come and invite your friends!