This news comes from Yael Pettreti, who was one of the leaders of our Compassionate Listening delegation in May-June. Our delegation stood with the demonstrators at Sheikh Jarrah at their regular Friday demonstration. We watched the families as they walked, accompanied by an exquisite drumming group--very lively and contagious. We also heard from Nasser Ghawi, who talked about the weekly demonstrations and the problems the families are facing as they are being evicted from their homes in East Jerusalem so that Jewish settlers can move in. Nasser's father made an agreement with the government of Jordan and with the UN--in 1952, Jordan provided the land and the United Nations built 28 houses. Nasser's father exchanged his refugee card for the house and the government promised to convert the title. After many years of court appearances, he is still fighting for his home. The photo shows the Palestinian families marching in Sheikh Jarrah, with Israelis and international volunteers, when we were there in May.
Yael reports from Jerusalem today that these families are supporting the demonstrations for the release of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit:
"This evening, about 20,000 people marched for Gilad Shalit's release from Hamas captivity. They marched into Jerusalem to be met by thousands more in Independence Park. Among the marchers were the Palestinian families evicted from their Sheikh Jarrah homes. Nasser Ghawi persuaded them to join the marchers as a way of "reaching out in peace." I told him what a beautiful and very smart thing to do it was.
As people were gathering in Independence Park, I spotted Noam Shalit, Gilad's father, behind the stage. I went to him and told him about the Palestinian families. He said that he and the rest of the family did not distinguish between different religions or ethnic groups. He asked me to thank them for him.
Now the family is settling in just across from Netanyahu's house, vowing that they will not leave without Gilad. We are all praying that it will be soon.
"Mitakuya oyasin." ("All beings are my relatives.") - Lakota