Mohammed El-Kurd, featured in this 2012 film, is a Palestinian teenager growing up in the Palestinian neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah in East Jerusalem. In the 1990s, his father, Nabil, built an extension to the family’s home for his growing family, but the Israeli courts subsequently deemed it illegal, because it was built without a building permit. This is a very common situation in East Jerusalem, because building permits are almost impossible for Palestinians to obtain.
In 2007, the court further ruled that the El-Kurd family could not use the rooms as they were not the legal owners of the land, and they ordered the rooms sealed and took possession of the keys. Nabil asked the courts to demolish the extension, but instead, in 2009, the court gave the home to a group of Jewish settlers claiming to hold original deeds to the land on which it was built, and Mohammed's family was forcibly and violently removed from the extension, although their original home was on the other side of the extension room’s wall. At the time of filming, Mohammed, a seventh grader, and his family live in the original portion of the house and must share their extended home with the settlers.
This film is part of the film series Home Front: Portraits from Sheikh Jarrah, produced by Just Vision in 2012. The series of four eight-minute documentaries chronicles the human impact of forcible expulsions of Palestinians from their homes in East Jerusalem and nonviolent efforts to prevent it.
View the other short films in the series here.