Israel arrests prominent Palestinian Sheikh Jarrah activists Muna and Mohammed el-Kurd

Israel arrests prominent Palestinian Sheikh Jarrah activists Muna and Mohammed el-Kurd
Israeli police raided the el-Kurd family home in Sheikh Jarrah, occupied east Jerusalem, on Sunday morning. The family, which includes activists Muna and Mohammed, have been fighting efforts by Israeli settlers to take over their home.
2 min read
06 June, 2021
Muna al-Kurd, 23, launched the #SaveSheikhJarrah campaign [Getty]

Israeli forces have arrested Muna and Mohammed el-Kurd - prominent Palestinian activists whose campaigning brought to global attention the plight of Palestinian families facing expulsion from their homes in occupied East Jerusalem.

Police raided the el-Kurd family home in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood on Sunday morning, the head of a local neighbourhood committee told The New Arab's Arabic-language service.

They arrested Muna, a 23-year-old journalist, and ordered her brother, a 23-year-old poet who was not present at the time, to turn himself in to the police. 

Mohammed was arrested early on Sunday afternoon after presenting himself at a police station in east Jerusalem.

It is unclear what charges the two face.

The Jerusalemite siblings have become the face of Israeli efforts to expel Palestinians from the eastern half of the holy city, which was occupied in 1967 and later annexed in a move considered illegal under international law.

Earlier this year, Muna - who has 1.3 million followers on Instagram, launched the #SaveSheikhJarrah campaign on social media, propelling to international attention the battle between Palestinian families and Israeli settlers in Sheikh Jarrah.

Israeli authorities seized and sectioned off a part of the el-Kurd family home in 2001, later handing over the keys to Jewish settlers.

The family now faces forcible expulsion from the rest of their home, alongside several other families in the neighbourhood.

Protests over the planned expulsions in Sheikh Jarrah and attacks by Israeli forces on worshippers in Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa mosque complex were the prelude to last month's devastating bombardment of the Gaza Strip.

Nearly 250 Palestinians, including 67 children, were killed by Israeli airstrikes and shelling.

Israeli police also arrested Zuhair al-Rajabi and Iyad Abu Sneina on Sunday, according to local media reports. Both men are activists in the fight against Israeli state-backed expulsions in the east Jerusalem neighbourhood of Silwan.

Israeli police on Sunday released Al Jazeera journalist Givara Budeiri, who was detained a day earlier while reporting on a demonstration in Sheikh Jarrah.

Budeiri said she was assaulted by police during her arrest. She was later released on condition that she not enter Sheikh Jarrah for 15 days, Al Jazeera reported.