Palestinians hold Friday prayers outside evicted Jerusalem home

Palestinians hold Friday prayers outside evicted Jerusalem home
2 min read
10 September, 2017
Palestinians joined a family in prayers outside a home they were evicted from by Israel, with protesters arrested, including a child.
Israeli settlers raise Israel's flag outside the Shamasna home [AFP]

Palestinians in occupied East Jerusalem gathered to pray outside the former home of the Shamasna family, who were forcibly evicted from their home  by Israeli forces in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood.

Dozens of Palestinians stood in solidarity with the family as they held a Friday sermon outside the home. 

Members of the Shamasna family participated in the prayers, standing with various Palestinian political officials, including Palestinian Mayor of Jerusalem Adnan al-Husayni.

Protests were held after the prayers finished, when Israeli forces arrested worshippers, including a child.

This is not the first time Palestinians prayed outside the Shamasna residency. In August, dozens gathered at the house to protest against the displacement of the family from their home.

Akrama Sabri, head of the High Islamic Committee, said during the August sermon that "the land that the Shamasna family home is built on belongs to the Shamasna family not to Jewish settlers".

Palestinians routinely use prayer as a form of protest against Israeli abuses. Prayer is traditionally used as a means of showing unity and the Palestinian ability to gather during desolate times.

Read more: The unity of Jerusalemites must be respected, not tokenised

Israeli police on Tuesday evicted the Palestinian family from their home, making way for Israeli settlers who were deemed by authorities as the legal occupants.

Seventy-five-year-old Fahamiya Shamasneh said police arrived unannounced before dawn and forced her out of the house along with her husband Ayoub, 84, their son and his family.

The couple and their children had lived in the house in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood of East Jerusalem - close to the historic Old City - for 53 years.

Fahamiya Shamasneh was heating milk for her grandchildren when Israeli police arrived at the door.

Once the Palestinian family were evicted, young Israeli men were seen moving into the building.

"It is the hardest day," Fahamiya Shamasneh wept, who has been left without a home.