In order to protest against the eviction of Palestinians from their homes there in favor of Jewish settlers, at least 3,000 protesters, including Israelis and Palestinians, have rallied in an Arab quarter of east Jerusalem.(photo, from aljazeera.net)
During the demonstration in Sheikh Jarrah on Saturday, the protesters waved red flags bearing the inscription “Shalom,” or peace in Hebrew. They chanted slogans such as “No to ethnic cleansing,” and “Sheikh Jarrah residents don’t lose hope, we are blocking the road to settlement.”
Watched over by a large Israeli police contingent, the demonstration was the largets of its kind for several decades against Jewish settlements in Jerusalem.
Although police had intended to ban the gathering, it was finally approved by the supreme court on an appeal launched by the far-left movement.
The demonstration took place after days of clashes between Israeli riot police and Palestinian protesters in and around the Al Aqsa mosque and several Arab neighbourhoods of Jerusalem.
In recent months, several Palestinian families of Sheikh Jarrah have been expelled in favour of Israeli settlers on the grounds that their houses belonged to Jews before the creation of Israel in 1948.
The demonstrations that followed the evictions were put down by the police who arrested Israeli peace activists and pro-Palestinian foreigners.
Israel annexed east Jerusalem after the 1967 Middle East war and built new quarters to house more than 200,000 Israelis.
The international community has never recognised the annexation.
Palestinians denounce settlements in east Jerusalem, which they want to make the capital of their future state.
The daily Haaretz revealed in early February that Israeli authorities had given the green light to a project to build 600 homes in an area set aside for settlement in the eastern sector.