OCCUPIED JERUSALEM: Israeli police on Sunday detained the prominent activist El-Kurd twins, whose campaign against the threatened expulsion of Palestinian families from homes in the Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah has found a global audience.
On Sunday morning police arrested Mona el-Kurd, 23, at her home in Sheikh Jarrah, where a legal battle between Israeli settlers and several Palestinian families has crystallised anger over Israel’s settlement movement.
They also left a summons for her twin brother, Muhammad, their father told AFP.
Israeli police told AFP that Mona was “suspected of having participated in riots and other recent incidents in Sheikh Jarrah”.
They did not give details on the status of Mohammad, who had handed himself in after the summons, but family lawyer Nasser Odeh indicated that the 23-year-old remained under investigation.
Protesters had gathered outside the east Jerusalem police station, where their father, Nabil el-Kurd, told AFP said his daughter’s arrest was part of “an operation to terrorise the parents, because the voice that emerged from the neighbourhood was thanks to its youth”.
Protests in Sheikh Jarrah spread early last month into the city’s Al-Aqsa mosque compound, sparking a crackdown by Israeli security forces against Palestinians there that further inflamed tensions.
The el-Kurd twins, from one of the families that faces being ousted from their home, have led an active protest movement on the streets and online.
They have gained hundreds of thousands of followers on platforms including Twitter and Instagram, using the hashtags #SheikhJarrah and #SaveSheikhJarrah to bring their neighbourhood’s plight global attention. Video posted online on Sunday showed Mona being led away in handcuffs.
Speaking to journalists outside the police station, their father said that Palestinian residents would stay in Sheikh Jarrah to “document the facts and show the terrorism practiced by the Israeli government.”
“Our weapon is the tongue and the camera,” he said. “Muhammad and Mona made the whole world turn around for our cause.”