Anti-Imperialism/Foreign Policy

My Neighbor Protested His Family’s Expulsion From Its Home—Now He’s in an Israeli Prison

By Mohammed El-Kurd, The Nation

Murad Attieh has been in prison for 133 days for what many believe is an effort to criminalize our movement.

When Israeli officers and undercover agents raided Murad Attieh’s home and arrested him on August 10, his mother, Nuha, had hoped he would be out of the interrogation room in a matter of hours. She’d seen many of her neighbors in Sheikh Jarrah—including my siblings and myself—detained, interrogated, and released shortly after and assumed her son would fall into this pattern. Today, however, marks Murad’s 133rd day in prison. No one knows if and when he will be released.

Murad’s family lives a few houses up the street from my home. In recent years, when he wasn’t teaching history and Arabic at a local elementary school, he was busy pursuing a master’s degree in social sciences at a university in Jerusalem. Between the occasional small talk and hearing his thunderous chants at demonstrations, I’ve come to know him as a kind and helpful neighbor and an important part of the #SaveSheikhJarrah movement.

Like my own family, Murad’s has lived in the Sheikh Jarrah refugee housing project since its establishment in 1956. After being forcibly expelled from their original home in the western part of Jerusalem during the 1948 Nakba, they found refuge in the neighborhood. Over the decades, they have battled the prospect of a second Nakba as Zionist settler organizations have targeted Sheikh Jarrah and tried to expel us from our homes.


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