The Elders delegation visiting the region visited the weekly Friday demonstration in Sheikh Jarrah today, and former U.S. President Jimmy Carter said, according to a report in Hazaretz, that “the eviction of Palestinians from their homes might be in accordance with Israeli law, but is against international law”.
The demonstrations have been held on a weekly basis for nearly a year, in response to the eviction of two Palestinian families from their homes in early August by Israeli border police, who then let Israeli Jewish settlers move right in. The evicted Palestinians spent months, in protest, living on the sidewalk in front of their former homes, and receiving solidarity visits from diplomats, UN officials, and many European tour groups.
Israeli activists are the main force behind the weekly protests in Sheikh Jarrah. A number were arrested on a weekly basis, and sometimes spent 36 hours or more in detention awaiting an appearance before a judge. At least one international protester faced deportation for joining in. Now, demonstrators are kept across the street from the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood during the Friday protests, which are now allowed without a permit, but making speeches is prohibited.
The Sheikh Jarrah demonstrations gave rise to hopes for a revival of the Israeli “left” — or pro-peace, anti-occupation activists.
According to Haaretz, Carter “gave his blessing to the activists for working together in a peaceful manner to protest ‘the injustice’ caused by the evictions”. The Haaretz report is published here.
Carter was joined by Mary Robinson. delegation leader, and Ela Bhatt. Former Algerian Foreign Minister Lakhdar Brahimi was apparently not present during the Israel-Palestine part of The Elders visit to the region.
The Jerusalem Post reported <a href=”http://www.jpost.com/MiddleEast/Article.aspx?id=192428″>here</a> that “The organizers of the Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity movement said that Carter’s support proves that their struggle is the alternative to occupation and the discrimination that has become Israel’s official policy”.
The JPost noted that Carter had used the word “division”, in Silwan, when advocating a future for Jerusalem — urging continued effort “towards a peace and a division between east and west Jerusalem… because east Jerusalem should be a Palestinian capital only under Palestinian control”.
A statement issued by Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat’s spokesperson said the Mayor told The Elders “The city must never be broken in two. No divided city in the world has ever succeeded. In fact, I asked the Elders how they can celebrate the reunification of Berlin while at the same time advocate the division of Jerusalem. It is the ultimate inconsistency.”
The statement also said that after the meeting, the Mayor observed: “It is clear to me that involvement of biased third parties in the peace process does more damage than good. It pressures both sides to rush into a bad deal”…