According to Palestinian news local news agency, Israeli police have arrested activist Muna al-Kurd, who has been at the forefront of the campaign to stop the forced expulsions of Palestinians from occupied East Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood.
Muna’s arrest comes a day after Al Jazeera Arabic journalist Givara Budeiri was arrested while covering a demonstration in Sheikh Jarrah. Budeiri was released hours later after her arrest drew global condemnation.
Nabil al-Kurd, Muna’s father, told reporters that the 23-year-old activist was arrested after the police raided their house in Sheikh Jarrah, adding that the police handed over a notice ordering her twin brother, Muhammad, to turn himself in.
“The reason for the arrest is that we say that we will not leave our homes, and they do not want anyone to express his opinion. They do not want anyone to tell the truth,” Nabil told Associated Press by phone. “They want to silence us.”
Video posted on social media showed Muna being taken from the home in handcuffs. “Don’t be afraid,” she is seen telling her family as she is being led out of the house by the Israeli police.
A news reporter, reporting from the Occupied East Jerusalem, said: “Muna al-Kurd says she was specifically chosen to be detained because she has become a bit of a symbol of what is going on Sheikh Jarrah, the voice of the families that are facing these forced expulsions.”
Nabil said his son Muhammad had been away from teaching in Ramallah but was on his way back to cooperate with the police summons. Police later confirmed the arrest of the 23-year-old woman for allegedly participating in ‘public disturbances’ in Sheikh Jarrah.
In the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood, Palestinians have been hit hard by orders from an Israeli court forcibly demanding families living in the area to vacate their homes, which they have described as a continuation of the ethnic cleansing that began in 1948. Palestinian families from the Silwan area of East Jerusalem also participated in the forced evictions.
This was also a factor in starting the recent conflict between Israel and the governing body in the Gaza Strip, Hamas.