Thousands protest return of Jerusalem neighborhood to Jews

Sunday, March 07, 2010 |  Israel Today Staff  

Some three thousand left-wing Israeli and Palestinian Arab protestors gathered in the eastern Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah on Saturday night to oppose the return of local homes to their original Jewish owners.

Many of the demonstrators, including Israeli Jews, waved Palestinian flags in support of the notion that the eastern half of the city should be emptied of Jews and surrendered as the capital of a new Palestinian Arab state.

Sheikh Jarrah was originally a Jewish neighborhood, and is even the site of the tomb of the renowned Mishnaic rabbi Shimon Hatzadik.

But during the War of Independence in 1948, the Jews of Sheikh Jarrah were forced to flee ahead of the advancing Jordanian armies. Jordan subsequently annexed the eastern half of Jerusalem in violation of international law and settled Palestinian Arab families in the former Jewish homes.

Over the past six months, Israel's Supreme Court has had no choice but to rule in favor of the descendants of the original owners and order the eviction of the Arabs living in several houses in Sheikh Jarrah. Two Jewish families moved into the neighborhood several months ago under heavy security. They were and continue to be attacked verbally and physically on a regular basis.

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