JERUSALEM (JTA) — Fifteen left-wing activists were arrested for demonstrating in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in eastern Jerusalem.
Among those arrested last Friday was Hagai El-Ad, the executive director of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel. The activists were released Sunday morning.
Weekly demonstrations have been held in Sheikh Jarrah for nearly five months protesting the eviction of Palestinian families from homes that they have lived in for decades. Israeli courts determined that the homes were owned by Jews before 1948. Jewish families recently moved into the homes, located in the heart of a Palestinian neighborhood.
Activists in attendance described last Friday’s protest as peaceful. The demonstration was the first to be held without a permit.
Dan Yakir, the chief legal counsel for the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, said in a news release that the claim by police that the protest was an unlawful gathering was baseless, as the law recognizes the basic right to demonstrate and allows protests of large numbers as long as vehicles are not disturbed and no political speeches are made.