A Jew and a Palestinian confront each other with their mobile phones amid ongoing tension ahead of an upcoming court hearing in an Israel-Palestinian land-ownership dispute in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem May 5, 2021
A Jewish resident and a Palestinian confront each other with their mobile phones amid ongoing tension ahead of an upcoming court hearing in an Israel-Palestinian land-ownership dispute in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem May 5, 2021
Photo: Reuters
A Jewish resident and a Palestinian confront each other with their mobile phones amid ongoing tension ahead of an upcoming court hearing in an Israel-Palestinian land-ownership dispute in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem May 5, 2021

How East Jerusalem flashpoint Sheikh Jarrah got its own hashtag

When potential evictions of 4 Palestinian families from Jerusalem's neighborhood was covered by a Palestinian influencer, hashtag '#SaveSheikhJarrah' was picked up by singer Dua Lipa and even Israeli-born actress Natalie Portman, gaining momentum overseas

Reuters |
Published: 05.17.21 , 15:41
Israeli police in riot gear pushed a Palestinian protester to the ground in East Jerusalem's Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, a moment captured on the smartphones of people looking on.
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  • "See what they're doing! They're beating up women!" Aya Khalaf, a Palestinian social media influencer, screamed in the background as she caught the May 9 incident on a live stream to her 187,000 Instagram followers.
    4 צפייה בגלריה
    A Jew and a Palestinian confront each other with their mobile phones amid ongoing tension ahead of an upcoming court hearing in an Israel-Palestinian land-ownership dispute in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem May 5, 2021
    A Jew and a Palestinian confront each other with their mobile phones amid ongoing tension ahead of an upcoming court hearing in an Israel-Palestinian land-ownership dispute in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem May 5, 2021
    A Jewish resident and a Palestinian confront each other with their mobile phones amid ongoing tension ahead of an upcoming court hearing in an Israel-Palestinian land-ownership dispute in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem May 5, 2021
    (Photo: Reuters)
    The scene is one of several shared on social media from the near-nightly confrontations between Israeli police and protesters against the expulsion of four Palestinian families from the neighborhood, which is claimed by Jewish residents.
    The hashtag "#SaveSheikhJarrah" has gained momentum overseas, with British singer Dua Lipa, Academy Award-winning actress Viola Davis and even Israeli-born Natalie Portman - among those expressing solidarity.
    In October last year, an Israeli court ruled in favor of Jewish residents who say the Palestinian families are living on land that used to belong to their families. Palestinians are appealing the decision at the Supreme Court.
    But a court hearing was delayed earlier this month amid rising tensions in Sheikh Jarrah — which lies just a few minutes' walk from the Old City's Damascus Gate, another recent flashpoint.
    4 צפייה בגלריה
    A Palestinian resident reacts during scuffles with Israeli police amid ongoing tension ahead of an upcoming court hearing in an Israeli-Palestinian land-ownership dispute in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem May 4, 2021
    A Palestinian resident reacts during scuffles with Israeli police amid ongoing tension ahead of an upcoming court hearing in an Israeli-Palestinian land-ownership dispute in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem May 4, 2021
    A Palestinian resident reacts during scuffles with Israeli police amid ongoing tension ahead of an upcoming court hearing in an Israeli-Palestinian land-ownership dispute in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem May 4, 2021
    (Photo: Reuters)
    Anger over the proposed evictions was a key factor behind tensions in Jerusalem over the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which last week escalated far beyond the holy city into the worst hostilities between Israel and the Palestinians in years.
    Portraying itself as the defender of Palestinians in Jerusalem, the terrorist group Hamas launched a rocket assault on Israel, which hit back with multiple air and artillery strikes on Gaza.
    A week later, nearly 200 people have been killed in Gaza, including 58 children, Gaza's health ministry said, and 10 people have been killed in Israel, including a 5-year-old child, according to authorities.
    On Sunday in Sheikh Jarrah, a Palestinian driver was shot dead after ramming his car into a police roadblock, injuring six officers, in what appears to be a terror attack.
    Area coveted by both sides
    4 צפייה בגלריה
    A Jewish resident gestures during a confrontation with a Palestinian resident during clashes amid ongoing tension in Sheikh Jarrah May 3, 2021
    A Jewish resident gestures during a confrontation with a Palestinian resident during clashes amid ongoing tension in Sheikh Jarrah May 3, 2021
    A Jewish resident gestures during a confrontation with a Palestinian resident during clashes amid ongoing tension in Sheikh Jarrah May 3, 2021
    (Photo: Reuters)
    A tree-lined area of sandstone homes, Sheikh Jarrah is named after a personal physician to Saladin, the Muslim conqueror who seized Jerusalem from the Crusaders in 1187.
    It also houses a site revered by religious Jews as the tomb of an ancient high priest.
    The Jewish residents who filed the lawsuit say they bought the land from two Jewish associations that purchased it at the end of the 19th century. Palestinians, who question the legitimacy of said documents, have lived there since the 1950s.
    Standing outside a Jewish house that sits beside Palestinian neighbors, Yaakov, a religious Jew who gave only his first name, said: "This is traditionally a Jewish neighborhood... the Jordanians and the UN settled Arab refugees in these houses, so if there are any settlers here, it's the Arabs who are living here."
    Pessimistic about the chances of winning their eviction case in Israeli courts, Palestinian residents have turned to social media. "I now have around a quarter of a million followers," said Mohammed El-Kurd, 23. "I believe that these people are an electronic army."
    4 צפייה בגלריה
    A Jewish resident and a Palestinian protester hold their mobiles to take pictures of each other amid ongoing tension in Sheikh Jarrah, May 5, 2021
    A Jewish resident and a Palestinian protester hold their mobiles to take pictures of each other amid ongoing tension in Sheikh Jarrah, May 5, 2021
    A Jewish resident and a Palestinian protester hold their mobiles to take pictures of each other amid ongoing tension in Sheikh Jarrah, May 5, 2021
    (Photo: Reuters)
    In one scene that went viral, his twin sister, Muna, was filmed shouting "you are stealing my house!" at an Israeli. "If I don't steal it, someone else is going to steal it," he shouted back.
    Israel captured East Jerusalem from Jordan in the 1967 Six-Day War, later annexing it in a move not recognized by most of the international community who regard settlements there as illegal.
    Israel regards all of Jerusalem as its capital, citing historical and religious ties to the land. Palestinians claim East Jerusalem as the capital of a future state.
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