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Ethnic cleansing in Jerusalem by Art Gish

Since the late 80’s Art Gish has spent a great deal of time in Israel. He often stays in Hebron working with and walking Palestinian children to school and sometimes standing in front of Israeli tanks as they are about to bulldoze Palestinian homes and businesses. Link below

Art is now in Jerusalem with the International Solidarity Movement.

Here is his latest letter

Ethnic cleansing in Jerusalem

Art Gish
November 9, 2009

My teammate woke me at 6:00 a.m. "We need to go over to the Sheikh Jarrah
neighborhood to accompany the al Ghawi family." The Palestinian family is
now living in a tent on the sidewalk across the street from their home
from which Israeli police evicted them on August 2.

Immediately after the police evicted the al Ghawi family, four Israeli
settler families, involving twenty people, moved into the al Ghawi house.
This is part of the Israeli government’s program to remove Palestinians
from the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, and turn this Palestinian
neighborhood into a Jewish neighborhood. The Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood is
only one of the Jerusalem neighborhoods that the Israeli government is
actively ethnically cleansing.

Since the family never knows when they may be attacked by the Jerusalem
police or settlers, a common experience for the family, internationals
stay at the tent around the clock. The Israeli police have demolished
their tent four times since August. The al Ghawi family is part of the
nonviolent resistance to this take over.

I sat on the curb near a fire Fuwad, one the men of the family, had built
to warm us from the morning chill, and to boil some tea which he shared
with us.

I watched settlers emerge from the house, presumably on their way to work.
They looked us over as they passed near us with their guns. I wondered
if the homeless family camped out in front of their stolen house touched
anything in the hearts of those settlers.

The al Ghawi family built this house in 1956 on land purchased in 1952
from the Jordanian government by the United Nations (UNWRA) for refugees
from the new state of Israel. The settlers claim that land in the distant
past had been owned by Jews, thus giving Jews today the right to
confiscate the land. The al Ghawi family now is threatened to become
refugees a second time.

It became clear to me as I spent the day with the family that their morale
was high. Neighbors stopped by to chat and drink tea with the family.
They are not giving up and they are not going away.

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