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Israeli police assault protesters, detain 5 during demonstration in Sheikh Jarrah

Sept. 9, 2017 2:49 P.M. (Updated: Sept. 9, 2017 8:18 P.M.)
(Photo: Mahmoud Elayyan)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli police detained at least five protesters, including two Palestinian minors, on Friday during a nonviolent protest outside of the Shamasna family home in the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, which was taken over by Israeli settlers on Tuesday, while a mother was injured when she attempted to prevent the arrest of her 14-year-old son.

Witnesses told Ma'an that Israeli police had assaulted and pushed Palestinian protesters during a demonstration in Sheikh Jarrah, after Palestinians performed Friday prayers outside the Shamasna family home of 53 years in an act of nonviolent protest against the eviction.

The family was expelled from the home during a widely condemned eviction after Israeli settlers claimed ownership over the property.
Israeli forces detained Mutaz Mahmoud al-Sau, 14, and his brother Muhammad, 12, during the protest.

When Mutaz was being detained, his mother attempted to prevent the arrest by hugging and holding on to him. Mahmoud, the boys’ father, told Ma’an that his wife had sustained bruises in the back of her head from Israeli police pushing her away. She was taken to a hospital for treatment.
(Photo: Mahmoud Elayyan)
(Photo: Mahmoud Elayyan)
Mahmoud told Ma’an that the Israeli police released Mutaz without conditions. However, Muhammad was released on the condition that he remain under house arrest for five days. He is also prohibited from approaching the street of the Shamasna family home for two weeks, despite him living just a few meters away.

Witnesses told Ma'an that a foreign activist had sustained an injury in the head after Israeli forces pushed him during the protest.
Salih Thiab, a local activist, told Ma'an that Israeli forces detained him and two foreign solidarity activists minutes after the demonstration kicked off. He added that he was released hours later after being interrogated on suspicions of violating the law. Thiab was also banned from the western part of Sheikh Jarrah for two weeks.

The two foreign activists, Thiab said, remained in Israeli custody after being accused of "attacking Israeli police officers and settlers."

An Israeli police spokesperson was not immediately available for comment.

Local activists noted that weekly demonstrations would be organized every Friday to protest the settler takeover of the Shamasna home and other settler-driven evictions underway in the neighborhood.
The Shamasna family was the latest Palestinian family to be evicted from the neighborhood since 2009 under an Israeli law that allows Jewish Israelis to claim ownership over properties that had once been owned by Jews before 1948, when thousands fled East Jerusalem during the Arab-Israeli war.

However, this law does not extend to Palestinians, hundreds of thousands of whom were displaced from their lands and homes in present-day Israel in 1948.

Sheikh Jarrah has become a central target for Jewish ownership claims, as the neighborhood was allegedly once the site of a 19th century Jewish community.

In 2009, the Um Kamel al-Kurd, Ghawi, and Hanoun families were completely evicted from their homes, while Israeli settlers partially took over the al-Kurd family home, who still live side-by-side years later. More than 60 Palestinians were displaced during the wave of evictions in 2009.

On Sunday, six more Palestinian families were handed eviction notices, ordering them to leave their homes within 30 days owing to Israeli settler claims on their properties.

According to the international community, all Israeli settlements established in occupied East Jerusalem are illegal under international law, despite Israel's de facto annexation of the territory.

The UN has reported that 180 Palestinian families -- comprising of 818 individuals, 372 of whom are children -- are at risk of forcible displacement in East Jerusalem owing to settler-driven evictions. UNRWA has noted that in Sheikh Jarrah, 60 percent of those at risk of displacement are Palestinian refugees.
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