Visiting Sheikh Jarrah Once Again

The High Court of Justice on Thursday (2010-03-04) criticized the Israel Police for banning a demonstration planned by left–wing activists in Sheikh Jarrah. The hearing was petitioned by residents of the east Jerusalem neighborhood asking the court to allow the Saturday night protest against the eviction of Arab families from homes in the neighborhood. Judges were surprised why the police had not made every effort to find a fitting time and location for the demonstration, asking rhetorically, “Are we in the year 1980?”. The hearing was interrupted when Judge Dorit Beinisch suggested both sides negotiate to find a solution. She also asked that Jerusalem police chief Cmdr. Aharon Franco personally attend the afternoon hearing to represent the police.
Finally, Beinisch ordered police to allow the protest to take place, as well as a small group of activists to enter the area near the occupied homes in the neighborhood. “Reality is tough but it is the police forces’ duty to overcome its’ obstacles,” Supreme Court President Justice Dorit Beinisch reportedly said.
Beyond expectations, thousands showed up for what was to be a very colorful rally. Flags of all colors were displayed although the most dominant were red, with the communist hammer and sickle. There was also significant controversy among the speakers on stage and in the crowd below. While Jewish speakers hailed the joint effort of Palestinians and Israelis and declared the rebirth of the Israeli political left aiming to strengthen democracy and to bring a two-state solution, most Arab speakers only had one state in mind – an Arab Palestine state from sea to sea (Mediterranean to Dead Sea).


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