International Anarchist groups and anti-Israel activists will be targeting Israeli embassies, consulates and Zionist organizations next week with active street protests. The focus of their demonstrations will be planned Israeli enforcement of construction codes in eastern Jerusalem.
The protests, held under the title "International Day of Actions Against House Evictions and Demolitions in Palestine", are slated for Monday 13th July 2009. Organizers are calling for the construction of tent cities outside Israeli diplomatic offices worldwide, . Among the cities in which such events are expected to be held are London, Paris, San Francisco and Chicago, as well as outside the Israeli embassy in Hellerup, Denmark, and within Israel itself.
According to a senior analyst with the Institute of Terrorism Research and Response, who has been following the chatter on next week's protests among Anarchist groups, "the potential for violence hinges on local leadership." As of now, he said, there does not appear to be a threat of serious violence, "although I would be surprised if a rock or two weren't thrown. But I expect less aggression than during the Gaza war."
In promotional material for the coming protests, organizers claim that "Israel is attempting to depopulate Palestinian communities to make way for Israeli settlements and public parks." Demolition orders received by Arab families, they say will result in the eviction of "up to 2,000 Palestinians.... part of Israel’s wider policy to ethnically cleanse Jerusalem of its Palestinian population."
Statistics from Jerusalem, however, show that since 1967, when Jerusalem was incorporated into sovereign Israel, the city's Arab population has increased by over 250 percent. During the same period, the Jewish population grew by under 150 percent. Under Jordanian rule, from 1948 through 1967, there were no Jews in eastern Jerusalem at all, and the Muslim population increased by less than 40 percent, while the Christian population was halved.
Shimon HaTzaddik as a Test Case
Specifically cited by anti-Israel activists behind the planned protests is the case of the Jewish neighborhood of Shimon HaTzaddik in the eastern part of the capital. The Israeli Supreme Court has ruled in favor of Jewish rights in the neighborhood over the years, most recently in 2008, and some Arab families have been evicted. However, other families have thus far refused to move and face forcible eviction later this month.
Known by the Arabs as Sheikh Jarrah, the neighborhood comprises the Nachalat Shimon area, populated throughout the 1940s by individual Jewish families, and the Shimon HaTzaddik neighborhood, owned by the Vaad HaEdah HaSfaradit (Sephardic Congregation Council). Jewish residents of the area fled Arab attacks during the War of Independence. The Jewish Jerusalem refugees were taken in by Israel, while Jordanian Arabs took over the abandoned Jewish properties. The latest court ruling recognizes the Jewish ownership of houses there and orders the Arab squatters removed.
The anti-Israel, Islamic and Anarchist organizations promoting next week's protests admit that the Arab families in Sheikh Jarrah have failed in their legal efforts, and that "media attention and international pressure can help stop the evictions taking place."