Israeli occupation forces have arrested prominent anti-displacement activists Muna al-Kurd and Mohammed al-Kurd, who have been key to resisting the takeover of housing in the Sheikh Jarrah by Jewish settlers.
Muna, who is 23 years old and the twin of Mohammed, was detained during a police raid on her home in Sheikh Jarrah, in occupied East Jerusalem, on Sunday 6 June. Police also told her brother, Mohammed, to turn himself in, and it was later confirmed he had also been arrested.
Their lawyer, Nasser Odeh, said the siblings were charged with “committing acts that disturb public security” and “taking part in riots”.
A video posted to social media shows Muna in handcuffs being taken away by police, telling family members not to be afraid.
The siblings are responsible for the globally popular social media hashtag “#SaveSheikhJarrah”, which was partly responsible for bringing the issue to an international audience.
Settlers took over half of the al-Kurd family home in 2009, when the arrested activists were just 11 years old. Mohammed had previously told reporters that the settlers who had taken over their home were “squatters with Brooklyn accents” and “insufferable, intolerable [and] terrible”.
He said the settlers had led a campaign of harassment to force the Palestinian family, and others, to leave their homes to make way for more settlers “as part of an effort to completely annihilate the presence of Palestinians from Jerusalem”.
Protests in solidarity with families facing displacement from Sheikh Jarrah have been taking place for several months, as Israel has pressured them to leave their homes. The families have alleged that the displacements are a form of ethnic cleansing and a continuation of the forced displacement of Palestinians from their land in a process that began with the 1948 Nakba.
Palestinians in the East Jerusalem area of Silwan are also facing forced eviction.
It is estimated that up to 1,000 Palestinians are facing forced displacement in both neighbourhoods.
Israeli law dictates that Jews can claim ownership of land that belonged to Jews before 1948 when Israel was established, even if Palestinians have been living there for generations. No such law exists for Palestinians.