Sheikh Jarrah Joins Dahmash—Together against Dispossession

Residents & activists from Sheikh Jarrah demonstrate with the people of Dahmash

On Sunday, June 13, we demonstrated together — residents of Dahmash fighting against the demolition of their homes and activists from Jerusalem and Tel-Aviv, who for nearly a year now have participated in the unyielding struggle against Israeli government attempts to dispossess Palestinians residents of Sheikh Jarrah in East Jerusalem from their homes.

Joint demo in Dahmash

Towards 5pm, about two hundred and fifty activists gathered in the Protest Tent at Dahmash, next to the home of Farida and Ali Shaaban, one of thirteen homes under immediate threat of demolition. Arafat Ismail related to those gathered the story of the residents of Dahmash, a story of unabashed deprivation: how for decades they have lived without essential services; how during all these years their neighborhood is unrecognized by governmental authorities who simply ignore their existence; how for all this time the Israeli bureaucracy has registered these residents as living at fictitious addresses; all this until real estate development plans transformed the people of Dahmash into a target, a target against which a concerted effort is being made — to evict the residents and demolish their homes.

Joint demo in Dahmash

A protest march then set out towards the entrance to the village, where the marchers were met by Palestinian activists just arrived from East Jerusalem, activists at the heart of the struggle against the dispossession at Sheikh Jarrah, together with their Israeli colleagues, who have stood shoulder to shoulder since the summer of 2009. The Jewish-Arab protest vigil thus formed positioned itself at the intersection leading to the village entrance.

A powerful Jewish-Arab demonstration is exactly what all of us needed: “Jews and Arabs against demolition of homes!” and “People are not real estate — Dahmash is standing strong!”

After the vigil, we returned to the Protest Tent to listen to Nasser Ghawi, the chairman of the of the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood committee, whose relentless fight against his family's eviction from their home, a fight that started with just a handful of protesters, marked the beginning of the mass protests that the Israeli authorities have still not succeeded in quelling. Nasser's moving words were followed by a performance by a Palestinian band from Sheikh Jarrah. The evening was concluded by Tamer Nafar, member of the rap group D.A.M., the true, dissenting voice of Lydda (Dahmash's neighboring town).