With all of the excitement about the J14 movement’s “March of the Million” (give or take a few 100K) in Tel Aviv and other Israeli cities this weekend, a minor historic moment passed with little fanfare among activist media in the region. The Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity movement, which has organized weekly demonstrations against the takeover of Palestinian homes by Israeli settlers in East Jerusalem for the past two years, announced that it will no longer hold the regular Friday rallies after this week. From their announcement:
…the goals of our struggle — the removal of the settlers from Sheikh Jarrah, the return of the families to their homes, and above all, the liberation of the residents of East Jerusalem from repression – are still far from being realized.
Therefore we, the activists of Solidarity and the residents of Sheikh Jarrah have decided to move on to the next phase of the struggle. [See update below.]
In the coming months, a series of activities in Sheikh Jarrah will replace the weekly demonstrations. We will conduct to tours of the neighborhood for the Israeli public, hold large-scale political and cultural events, and begin the construction of a permanent information center run by the neighborhood’s residents. We call on you all to take part in the next stage of the struggle in Sheikh Jarrah.
I’ve attended this event on a sporadic basis over the last year—it’s only a 20 minute walk from my house—and so it was with a certain amount of nostalgia that I attended this last regular demonstration on Friday. But as organizer Sarah Benninga was quick to remind me, this is not the end, it’s the beginning of a new phase in the movement. So here are my best shots from this week’s rally, which marched up to the doorstep of the Al-Kurd home, the front of which is occupied by Israeli settlers while the Palestinian residents still live in the rear of their house.
UPDATE: According to a recent email from Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity—apparently the residents of Sheikh Jarrah are now organizing their own weekly protests, and invite the solidarity community to join them:
The residents of Sheikh Jarrah are continuing their protest vigils in the neigbourhood on Fridays, protesting the violent evictions from their homes, the taking over of the neigborhood by the settlers, and the Judaization of East Jerusalem. They call upon each and every person who supports their struggle to join them.