Sheikh Jarrah families protest the evictions
What challenges Palestinians have faced these past few months! At the request of neighborhoods, their lawyers, the U.N., and human rights groups, Rebuilding Alliance's advocacy team has been working hard on behalf of Palestinian rights, case by case, community by community. The bombings of Gaza duirng the month of May and the lack of vaccines to stem the pandemic have made the situation even more critical. Now more than ever, we need to expand our efforts on behalf of Palestinian rights and press for American government policies guided by a desire for justice and real peace.
Thanks to your continued financial support, below are some of the areas where we have been focussing our efforts:
Advocating for East Jerusalem:
Currently, 270 Palestinian families --over 1,000 people-- are at risk of eviction from their rightful homes in East Jerusalem. Here are some of the reasons why this is simply not a private real estate dispute:
- Eviction cases against Palestinians are being initiated by Jewish settler organizations who have no familial ties to the Jewish families or associations who may have lived there in the past.
- The Jewish families who resided there prior to 1948 were already compensated. Many were given West Jerusalem residences and storefronts, often owned by Palestinians who were forced to leave.
- The Israeli government is taking an active role in enabling these evictions, and has passed discriminatory laws that grant property rights to Israeli Jews but not to the Palestinians who often build their homes on their own land. Paletinians were displaced in 1948, during the Nakba, in much greater numbers.
- The families of Sheikh Jarrah were invited to live there by the Jordanian government making their residency a matter of law between the two countries.
To stop the forced displacement of Palestinian families in East Jerusalem, Rebuilding Alliance has been asking constituents to send letters and make phone calls urging their Senators and Representatives to intervene. When they do, we follow-up by holding Congressional briefings and inviting the constituents who took action to join the call. We are briefing House and Senate offices on both sides of the aisle.
Contact your members of Congress here to ask them to intervene and invite them to a briefing.
A note about Sheikh Jarrah- On Monday, June 7th, Israel’s Attorney General ruled that he would not intervene in the Sheikh Jarrah eviction lawsuit. This leaves the fate of the families with Israel’s Supreme Court, which will hold a hearing on August 2nd to decide whether or not to take the case. The Court msy deny to hear the case and let the district Court decision denying the families’ eviction appeal stand. Pressing Congress for immediate intervention is therefore crucial to keeping the decision out of the district Court’s hands and keeping the Palestinian families in their rightful homes.
A note about the Sumarin family- On April 5th, thanks in large part to our advocacy efforts, the Israeli Supreme Court reviewed the Sumarin family's appeal of their eviction order. Their case has been underway for 30 years. You may remember that the title to their home was taken from them using the discriminatory Absentee Property Law (even though the family has resided there continuously since the home was built and were never absent) and was sold to the Jewish National Fund. No oral arguments were presented; instead the Court requested that both parties submit statements to the Israeli Attorney General, who has 60 days to submit a position statement from the Government of Israel. During this process, the eviction is temporarily frozen. This provides a window of opportunity for the US Congress and the Biden Administration to press the Israeli government to take a position in favor of the Sumarin Family and their right to remain in their home.
This all starts with you, when you take a stand as a constituent and contact the Congress. With your support, we will continue to advocate for the Sumarin family and others threatened with unjust and unlawful evictions.
Pressing for Vaccines to Palestine:
Rebuilding Alliance is asking constituents to press their members of Congress to step in for the good of both Palestinians and Israelis and press for delivery of vaccines to families in Gaza and the West Bank. To send a letter to your own elected officials pressing for vaccines, click here. Meanwhile, we're pressing the UN Health Cluster to let us introduce the RT LAMP screening technology to Gaza because it is accurate, easy, and cost-effective.
Pinwheels for Peace:
In light of the families threatened with eviction across East Jerusalem, Rebuilding Alliance brought Pinwheels for Peace to East Jerusalem's Madaa Creative Center on April 7th. Together, we hosted "Jerusalem Children on Peace," as a way to show the children of Jerusalem that the world is paying attention to the things they care most about. In the past, we’ve found Pinwheels to be an effective way to show Congress how deeply Palestinian children care about their families, homes, school, safety, and their future. Currently, we are preparing instructional Pinwheels for Peace videos to share with both Palestinian and American children, who can create pinwheels in solidarity. We also presented a Gaza Pinwheels for Peace initiative at the RightsCon Summit for Human Rights in the Digital Age.
Next week, we'll ask your help to continue to build our team. We recently hired Adv. Nejmah Haddad as our Country Representative and we would like to add two Rebuilding Alliance coordinators to Nejmah's West Bank team. In addition, here in the U.S. we would like to begin work on Leahy Law cases, as a way to stop the targeting of children. Please mark your calendar and give on July 14th, when GlobalGiving will be matching all donations.
Pinwheels for Peace with the Madaa Creative Center
Deliveries during the Gaza bombing
Advocating for Um Qussah school