At the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Sheik Jarrah

On the fourth day of a 28 August to 2 September 2010 visit to the Holy Land, the WCC general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit came to the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Sheik Jarrah, to meet Palestinian families who have been evicted from their houses there. Read more about the visit.

Left to right: Refqa Al-Kurd, Nadia Al-Kurd and Zakariah Odeh.

Refqa Al-Kurd spoke of how she was awakened early in the morning a year ago to find Israeli police and soldiers had removed her belongings from the house on their land while she slept in another building. Odeh is director of the Civic Coalition for Human Rights in Jerusalem.

In August 2009, Israeli settlers took over the home of Nasser Ghawi.

Nasser and his wife, Maysoun, and their 5-year-old son Adham stand in front of their house which is now adorned with Israeli flags and a menorah.

In order to share their painful story of losing their homes in August 2009, the Al-Kurd family has received international assistance to document the ordeal visually.

Twelve-year-old Muna Al-Kurd pauses for a moment with some picture displays the family is showing to a guest. Her home has become a battleground in the conflict between Palestinian and Israeli

While the Al-Kurd family currently lives in two small buildings, a makeshift tent serves as a gathering place for family and guests.

In the foreground is Mariam Ghawi. Behind her is Nadia Al-Kurd, sister to the Palestinian owner of the property, Nabil Al-Kurd.

Mariam Ghawi detailed her ordeal to Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, general secretary of the World Council of Churches, during a 29 August visit to the community of Sheikh Jarrah where, in August 2009, 12 Palestinian families were evicted from their homes.

The youngest in the Al-Kurd family, 3-year-old Maha, brings the photo displays documenting the eviction of August 2009 and conflicts since then, to show the WCC delegation that visited on 29 August 2010.

Nabil Al-Kurd, the owner of one of the houses in Sheikh Jarrah, stands in what is left to the front yard of his home.

Behind him is the home of the Ghawi family, now occupied by Israeli settlers. Al-Kurd lived here for 37 years before he and his family were evicted a year ago. They have refused to move from the immediate vicinity, despite continual harassment and threats from the settlers.

All pictures © WCC/Mark Beach.
High resolution versions of these pictures are available at