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Do not let settlers expel us from our home in Sheikh Jarrah

on 7 Comments
ethnic cleansing
A banner is displayed at the entrance of the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in March, 2009.
(Photo: Anne Paq/Activestills)

To whom it may concern,

My name is Ayoub Shamasneh and I live in Um Haroun, Sheikh Jarrah. My wife and I are living here with our son, Mohammed, his wife Amaal, and their six children ranging from the ages of 11 to 22 years old. We have lived in this house since 1964, it is where we built our family and raised our children. In 2009, after decades of living in our home, the Israeli General Custodian’s Office informed us that our rental’s agreement will not be renewed. They have now sued us in order to take ownership of the property via individuals whom they claim are the descendants of the original Jewish owners pre-1948. Our case has been reviewed by an Israeli court in two separate hearings and judges have refused to accept evidence we have submitted to show proof of our residence in our home since 1964. Therefore, they are claiming that we are not eligible for protected tenant status. Consequently we have been ordered to evacuate the property by 2pm on December 31st, 2012. As far as we know, the property will be handed over to a right wing settler organization that has previously taken over properties in the neighbourhood.

Now more than ever we are aware of the double standard of the Israeli law that does not lend Palestinian refugees or their children a claim to property they owned before 1948, yet allows children of Jewish Israelis to sue and evict Palestinian families from homes they have lived in for decades. As a result of this discriminatory double standard of the Israeli law we are about to lose our home and be thrown out onto the street.

Forced eviction from our home will not only be a human tragedy but also a political maneuver which aims to strengthen and expedite the settlement project in East Jerusalem, specifically in Sheikh Jarrah. Israeli Jewish settlement takeover in Sheikh Jarrah serves to interrupt the presence of a continuous and connected Palestinian community in East Jerusalem. Numerous families have already lost their homes and 30 more are living, day-to-day, under the eminent threat of eviction. Our case will set yet another precedent that will play directly into the hands of the settlement project and will be another nail in the coffin of a viable East Jerusalem.

We are turning to you, as writers, activists, public figures, artists and concerned citizens of the world, to do all that you can to call on the Israeli government to instruct the General Custodian not to evict our family from our home and thereby facilitate the agenda of extremist settlers who are destroying all chances for a peaceful and just future in Jerusalem.


Ayoub Shamasneh

Editor’s Note: More on the eviction of the Shamasneh family on Mondoweiss here and from Hagit Ofran here.

Ayoub Shamasneh

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7 Responses

  1. ritzl on December 29, 2012, 1:13 pm

    Mr. Shamasneh, I’ve tried for days to come up with something meaningful to say to you, but failed.

    Hang in there? Maybe next year it’ll be better? We’re all with you in spirit? All empty and impotent given what you’re going through right now.

    Nobody I have written to or could write to that would be in a position to change your situation, gives a shit (Congress, Obama, Clinton). It’s heartbreaking in the extreme.

    So I guess all I have is, thanks for letting us know what you are going through.

    Maybe the details of your outrageous treatment by Israel will embolden a few more people to bring it up in conversation such that a few more people will be aware of the complete and unnecessary lack of humanity of the Israeli policy that afflicts you and so many other Palestinian families.

    I wish I had more…

    • ritzl on December 29, 2012, 1:45 pm

      Actually, if you have family in the US, their local Representative or Senator would be the best starting point to seek immediate help. Have them contact their local politicians as a constituent. Politicians are most responsive to constituent needs, but to be honest, I don’t know how this could be termed to give it power and play as a constituent request. Be creative.

      Also the Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) might be worth contacting for help in crafting a creative family-linked constituent (if you have family here, however distantly related) request. I believe they are familiar with the workings of Washington politics and they have a former US Senator on their board.

      Their web site:

      A Mr. Warren David is the President of the ADC. Start at the top.

      The constituent request approach is at best a very very long shot, but it may be your best shot at the moment. So, for what it’s worth.

      If I can help in some small way on this, Mondoweiss has my email.

      I guess that really is all I have to offer.

  2. amigo on December 29, 2012, 1:42 pm

    What troubles me is why there are so few responses.

    Doesn,t someone care about the plight of these people? or is it that we all feel so helpless and cannot see how we can do anything.

    Personally,these kinds of events spur me on to act in anyway I can to stop this monster known as “Zionism”.

    Thank you for sharing this with us Mr Shamasneh.It serves to strengthen my resolve to ensure you are not alone in your battle against oppression and criminal theft.

    May your God bless you and your Family.

    • American on December 29, 2012, 1:59 pm

      ‘What troubles me is why there are so few responses.

      Doesn,t someone care about the plight of these people? or is it that we all feel so helpless and cannot see how we can do anything.”….amigo

      Every time I see things like this I choke and it’s hard for me to come up with anything to say that would actually mean a damn and doesn’t sound like warmed over tripe after all this time.
      We can say we’re are sorry, we can take out share of the blame for what is happening to these people and we can keep on ranting and raving to our politicians about it.
      We can say we care and we’re trying and that about all we can say.
      We’re sorry.
      We care and we’re trying.
      We need to do more.

      • amigo on December 29, 2012, 2:46 pm

        I will E.mail this story to the National Newspapers , as I usually do but it is often in vain as there seems to be no interest in publishing unless it brings in income.

        The Irish Times engages the services of Mark Weiss ,who is a Zionist to supply us with news from the I/P conflict.
        I assure you not one word of this story will grace the pages of the Irish times.

        Mr Weiss seems to be content, as are his superiors , to report only reports that enhance Israel,s image or perpetuate the Myth that Israel is as always “the victim” and Arabs are the aggressors and Terrorists.

        Hence my frustration in getting past this glass ceiling.

        But for Mr Shamasneh, we must keep trying.If we get through once out of 100 try,s it is worth the effort.

    • chinese box on December 29, 2012, 4:13 pm

      “What troubles me is why there are so few responses.”


      I think we (Mondoweissers) tend to get too caught up in the all the stateside internecine squabbling over Beinart, Hagel, Joy Harjo, Pollard, [fill in the blank]. As a result some of the posts that relate the human dimension of what’s happening on the ground in Palestine get lost in the shuffle.

  3. jon s on December 29, 2012, 1:53 pm

    This case is indeed an outrageous example of the double standard , whereas Israelis can claim property based on pre-1948 ownership, but Palestinians can’t.

    Another angle regarding the situation in East Jerusalem was in yesterday’s Haaretz:

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