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Thursday, 26 March 2009

Turkey allows access to its archives

This story is from active stills org. If you really want to get an idea what the separation/apartheid wall looks like, and the encroachment of the settlements, take a look

An interesting story from Electronic Intifada over Turkey allowing access to its archives which can help prove Palestinian claims of land ownership, or disprove settler claims of ownership, or vice versa. Turkey has always been a strong ally of Israel, along with Egypt, (and recipient of U.S. aid) generally keeping the Palestinian plight well contained. This move is interesting and welcome, indeed.

A legal battle being waged by Palestinian families to stop the takeover of their neighborhood in East Jerusalem by Jewish settlers has received a major fillip from the recent souring of relations between Israel and Turkey.

After the Israeli army's assault on the Gaza Strip in January, lawyers for the families were given access to Ottoman land registry archives in Ankara for the first time, providing what they say is proof that title deeds produced by the settlers are forged.

On Monday, Palestinian lawyers presented the Ottoman documents to an Israeli court, which is expected to assess their validity over the next few weeks. The lawyers hope that proceedings to evict about 500 residents from Sheikh Jarrah will be halted.

The families' unprecedented access to the Turkish archives may mark a watershed, paving the way for successful appeals by other Palestinians in East Jerusalem and the West Bank caught in legal disputes with settlers and the Israeli government over land ownership.

Interest in the plight of Sheikh Jarrah's residents peaked in November when one couple, Fawziya and Mohammed Kurd, were evicted from their home by an Israeli judge. Mohammed Kurd, who was chronically ill, died days later.

Meanwhile, Fawziya Khurd, 63, has staged a protest by living in a tent on waste ground close to her former home. Israeli police have torn down the tent six times and she is facing a series of fines from the Jerusalem municipality.

The problems facing Kurd and the other residents derive from legal claims by the Sephardi Jewry Association that it purchased Sheikh Jarrah's land in the 19th century. Settler groups hope to evict all the residents, demolish their homes and build 200 apartments in their place.

The location is considered strategic by settler organizations because it is close to the Old City and its Palestinian holy places.

Unusually, foreign diplomats, including from the United States, have protested, saying eviction of the Palestinian families would undermine the basis of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The help of the Turkish government has been crucial, however, because Palestine was part of the Ottoman Empire when the land transactions supposedly took place.
. . .
Kurd said she would stay in her tent until she received justice.

"My family is originally from Talbiyeh," she said, referring to what has become today one of the wealthiest districts of West Jerusalem. "I am not allowed to go back to the property that is rightfully mine, but these settlers are given my home, which never belonged to them."
Read more.

Can you imagine that happening to your parents? From Mondoweiss, referencing a Paul Woodward editorial comment on the piece Labor joins Likud in Israel's unlikely new government,written for Time by Tim McGurk (25 March, 2009), comes the following quote, and really, it is what most of us are thinking, I would say:
If Obama really believes that the status quo is untenable then it’s up to him to demonstrate that he means what he says.

Netanyahu is clearly ready to get straight back to business as usual:
talking peace, building settlements.(my link insertion)
Note: April 1, useful information: A layman's guide to home demolitions in East Jerusalem
Jews-san-Frontieres has these two encouraging posts: Israelis dismayed as U.K. retains war crime laws, and Sweet news from Ireland: Cyprus refuses to grant asylum to Israeli vegetables.

Within Australia, too, Australians for Palestine and Women for Palestine report that their campaign which
is a major push to urge the Victorian state government to dump the contract with Connex which is coming up for renewal in November this year. Under the contract signed with Israel, Connex will operate a public transport service to Jewish settlements that Israel is continuing to build illegally deep inside the West Bank under its military occupation. The service will benefit some 450,000 foreign settlers while 2.6 million Palestinians are excluded
is going well. Time is of the essence, though, hence, I refer you back to Paul Woodward's comments about Obama.

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this cutie was taken by Crazyegg95 in 2005 and is from flickr