JERUSALEM: Israeli police detained two prominent Palestinian activists yesterday who have become the faces of a campaign to halt Palestinian evictions from the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah.
Footage on social media showed Muna El Kurd, 23, whose family faces eviction from their home in Sheikh Jarrah after Jewish settlers won an Israeli court ruling, handcuffed and being escorted from her home by Israeli officers.
Her twin brother, Mohammed El Kurd, later turned himself in at a police station after receiving a summons, their father said. Both were released hours later, he added.
Without explicitly naming Muna El Kurd, an Israeli police spokeswoman said police had arrested a 23-year-old resident of East Jerusalem under court order, on suspicion of participating in riots that took place in Sheikh Jarrah recently.
The police did not immediately comment on Mohammed El Kurd, who was later shown in a live Instagram video leaving the station, accompanied by father Nabil El Kurd.
Their supporters said the twins’ 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.
“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.
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.