Nowhere To Go But The Sidewalk: Sheikh Jarrah Evictions

May 6, 2021 /

With a tired face and tearful eyes, 60-year-old Maryam Al Ghawi stands in front of her home in which she spent the most beautiful years of her life. Sadly, she looks at the house from the outside and re-lives her past filled with beautiful memories and painful events. She holds a sign saying “This is my house, the Ghawi’s house”. This is all she can do at the present. She is hoping the world can show compassion for a house that she had built brick by brick. For Maryam every brick in her house is a link with her past.

Thrown out from house, Maryam is now prevented from entering her own house, even on its threshold. She was heartbroken when she saw the roof of her home is now flying the occupiers – Israeli flag.

Standing in front of her house, which Israeli settlers had stolen 13 years, Maryam tells us her tragic story. She recalls the grievous gloomy night when her family was expelled from their home. It is  in the middle of night  in  -2008 when the Israeli occupation forces, barged into her house. They were thrown out without any consideration. The family had to leave without collecting their belongings and some of them were in their nightdress.

Maryam recalls “they did not throw only our belongings out of the window. However, when we were outside the home, they just cruelly threw him at us from the second floor window”. Maryam recalls, with tears and visible horror in her eyes. “This scene has remained live in my memory as if it happened just a few minutes ago”, Maryam continues.

Despite the Israeli occupation’s criminal behaviors, Maryam and her family didn’t forget their right to return home. They camped in the sidewalk in front of their house and did not leave for six months. During the 13 years, Maryam has filed cases to many Israeli courts with the hope of getting at least some response; but these were to no avail.

Even today, Maryam Al Ghawi has not given up and continues to visit her stolen house. Maryam expresses her yearning of her home and says, “I usually stand in front of the door, and I do not care about anyone. This is my house in which I lived the most beautiful days of my life. I have the right to return to it, and one day justice will prevail.”

What happened to Maryam is now the fate of dozens of Palestinian families in Sheikh Jarrah. The eviction is part of a scheme to ethnically cleans Jerusalem of its indigenous Palestinians.