Palestinian activists released after hours-long arrests by Israeli forces

Palestinian activists released after hours-long arrests by Israeli forces
Twins’ family facing eviction from home

Police in Israel have released two prominent Palestinian activists who have become synonymous with a campaign to stop Palestinians from being evicted from East Jerusalem‘s Sheikh Harrah neighbourhood.

Video shared on social media showed Muna El-Kurd, 23, being arrested and removed from her home in by law enforcement officers on Sunday.

Mohammed El-Kurd, her twin brother, later turned himself in at a police station after receiving a summons, their father said. Both were released hours later.

“It’s clear that these are policies to silence people, policies to pressure and scare people,” Muna El-Kurd said in a statement on the Sheikh Jarrah Instagram page after her release.

The El-Kurd twins’ family faces eviction from their home in Sheikh Jarrah after Jewish settlers won an Israeli court ruling.

Supporters of the activists said their detention was part of a broader Israeli effort to halt opposition to the evictions in Sheikh Jarrah, where Jewish settlers want to move into the El-Kurds’ home and others under court order.

Anger over the proposed evictions helped spark 11 days of violence in May between Israel and Palestinians in Gaza, whose Islamist rulers Hamas have called Israeli policy in East Jerusalem a “red line”.

The detentions came a day after police in Sheikh Jarrah arrested a reporter with Qatar-based media network Al Jazeera who had been covering a protest there.

In October last year, an Israeli court ruled in favour of Jewish settlers, who say some eight Palestinian families in Sheikh Jarrah are living on land that used to belong to Jews.

Palestinians are appealing the decision in Israel’s Supreme Court, and the evictions are currently on hold.

Tensions could flare further in Jerusalem this week when a Jewish right-wing march is expected to pass through the Old City’s Damascus gate. A similar march, its route diverted at the last minute, was held the same day that the Israel-Gaza fighting broke out.

Additional reporting by agencies

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