Time magazine has chosen the 23-year-old twins Muna and Mohammed El-Kurd, from the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem, or al-Quds as it is known in Arabic, as amongst the 100 most influential people in the world.
Through their social media posts and media appearances, the siblings have “provided the world with a window into living under occupation in East Jerusalem”, the magazine said. Their activities are “helping to prompt an international shift in rhetoric in regard to Israel and Palestine”, the magazine continued.
The El-Kurd family, along with dozens of their neighbors in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, have been struggling for more than a decade against the risk of forcible eviction by Israeli settlers, the magazine said.
The announcement continued, “in May, tensions in Sheikh Jarrah spilled into the nearby Old City, where Israeli forces attacked worshippers at the al-Aqsa mosque”, and “Mohammed and Muna El-Kurd – who were temporarily detained by Israeli authorities this summer – challenged existing narratives about Palestinian resistance through viral posts and interviews, humanizing the experiences of their neighbors and pushing back against suggestions that violence was being predominantly carried out by Palestinians.”
The “charismatic and bold” siblings became the voices of those at risk of losing their homes in Sheikh Jarrah, Time wrote. “Around the world, their grassroots organizing helped inspire the Palestinian diaspora to renew protests. And in the U.S., long Israel’s strongest ally, polls show growing support for Palestinians”, it added.
Mona and Mohammed began documenting settlers’ attempts to seize homes in Sheikh Jarrah when they were just twelve years old.
In early June, the occupation’s police force arrested the twins on charges of “carrying out acts that disturb public order and peace, and acts of riot”, before releasing them due to wide solidarity with them from both inside and outside the occupied Palestinian territories.
The El-Kurds were chosen alongside world leaders including Chinese President Xi Jinping, American President Joe Biden, Iranian President Ibrahim Raisi, and head of the Taliban’s political office, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar.
Over 500 Jerusalemites, living in 28 houses across Sheikh Jarrah, are at risk of displacement due to the activities of settler groups, after years of collusion between the latter and the occupation’s courts. One court recently issued a decision against seven families, despite their being the current and legal owners of the land.
Following the Israeli Central Court’s decision to expel those seven Palestinian families from their homes, Arab Organisation for Human Rights in the UK (AOHR UK) recently launched an urgent appeal to the international community and the relevant UN bodies to take urgent action to save the Palestinians of Sheikh Jarrah from such displacement.
AOHR UK stressed the need for all parties to immediately submit all files relevant to the displacement of Palestinian Jerusalemites and the demolishment of Palestinian property to the International Criminal Court (ICC), in order that all those responsible for any crime be held accountable, including Israeli judges, whose role has been crucial in the displacement of Palestinians from al-Quds.