By Gideon Levy
December 18, 2008 Kislev 21, 5769
The Israeli national flag flies high, defiant and arrogant over the Palestinian home in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of East Jerusalem. This flag has never looked as repulsive as it does in the heart of this Palestinian neighborhood, above the home of a Palestinian family that suddenly lost everything. The head of the house, Mohammed al-Kurd, died 11 days after the eviction. Now his widow lives in a tent. The house is reached via a narrow alley: Here Moshe and Avital Shoham and Emanuel and Yiska Dagan live happily. They are the settlers who managed to expel the Palestinian tenants and take over another outpost, in the heart of East Jerusalem. House after house, the transfer here is especially quiet: The media barely report on these houses of contention.
Israeli greed knows no bounds: It sends its tentacles into the homes of refugees who already experienced, in 1948, the taste of expulsion and evacuation and being left with nothing. Now they are refugees for a second time. Another 27 families here can expect a similar fate, and all under the aegis of the Israeli court system, the lighthouse of justice and the beacon of law, which approves, whitewashes and purifies deceptive and distorted ways of evicting these children of refugees from their homes for the second time. The family keeps, as an eternal souvenir, the keys to the house in Talbieh that was stolen from them and the banana warehouse in Musrara that was taken from them. Now they have another key that opens nothing: the key to the home in Sheikh Jarrah, which they received decades ago from the Jordanian government and the United Nations as compensation for their lost home.