Who is Muna al-Kurd? Israel Arrests Architect of Sheikh Jarrah Protests

Israel arrested a prominent Palestinian activist who organized the Sheikh Jarrah protests, which eventually escalated into the 11-day Israel-Hamas war last month.

The Israeli police detained Muna al-Kurd on Sunday following a raid at her home. The 23-year-old Palestinian activist and resident was instrumental in giving shape to the Save Sheikh Jarrah campaign, orchestrating voices and people over the eviction of Arab families from the East Jerusalem area following orders of an Israeli court.

Qatar's Al Jazeera reported that the twin brother of the activist, Mohammed al-Kurd, has also been arrested by the Israeli police. However, according to The National of the UAE, he has only been called for questioning by the Israeli police.

Al Jazeera Journalist Arrested

The arrest of al-Kurd came a day after the arrest of Al Jazeera Arabic journalist Givara Budeiri in East Jerusalem as she reported a demonstration in Sheikh Jarrah. The journalist was later released by Israel.

Sheikh Jarrah
Sheikh Jarrah Wikimedia Commons

The father of al-Kurd, Nabil al-Kurd, said the police raided their home in Sheikh Jarrah and then arrested his daughter.

"The reason for the arrest is that we say that we will not leave our homes, and they do not want anyone to express his opinion, they do not want anyone to tell the truth ... They want to silence us," he told the Associated Press.

Video posted online showed the al-Kurd family home, which was allegedly partially occupied by Israeli settlers a decade ago, being raided.

Open Defiance

Al-Kurd had openly expressed her defiance of the Israeli court's order to evict some Arabs from Sheikh Jarrah.

"I will take it upon myself to chain myself in my room should they raid our house to forcibly expel us ... I will not leave my home in Sheikh Jarrah," she had said.

She and her brother then formed the pivot of a highly effective social media campaign that brought the world's attention to Sheikh Jarrah evictions.

The unprecedented media attention on Sheikh Jarrah presumably played a role in the escalation of the crisis and the resultant conflict in Gaza that killed hundreds of people in the Hamas-ruled territory.

"Police arrested, under court order, a suspect (23) who is a resident of East Jerusalem, on suspicion of participating in riots that took place in Sheikh Jarrah recently," an Israeli police spokeswoman told Reuters.

View of Sheikh Jarrah
View of Sheikh Jarrah Wikimedia Commons

The Middle East Eye reported a slightly different version of the police statement. "The police arrested under a court order a suspect (23), a resident of East Jerusalem, suspected of participating in riots and violent demonstrations that took place in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood recently. The suspect was taken to the police station for further investigation."

According to MEE, the twin brother of al-Kurd, Mohammed al-Kurd, was arrested hours after his sister's detention.