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Land and Space

Sharing Our House with Israeli Settlers in Sheikh Jarrah

Screenshot from a 2011 video by The Guardian about Muna and Mohammed al-Kurd

A documentary short featuring Mohammed and Muna El-Kurd, 12-year-old twins who live in the Palestinian neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah in East Jerusalem


The Guardian

The year is 2011. Muna and Mohammed El-Kurd are 12-year-old twins living in the Karm al-Jouni area of the Palestinian neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, in East Jerusalem. At the time of filming, settlers have forcibly expelled them from the front of their house, but their family continues to live in the rest of the house. 

Muna and Mohammed offer a tour of their home and neighborhood, sharing their family’s sordid saga. 

Follow Up

In October 2020, the Jerusalem Magistrate Court of East Jerusalem ruled that 12 Palestinian families, including the El-Kurd family, should be forcibly expelled from their homes in Sheikh Jarrah, and their houses turned over to Jews. The Palestinian families were given 30 days to file an appeal.

In March 2021, the appeal was rejected and the El-Kurds were ordered to leave their home by May 2, 2021. Mohammed and Muna launched a campaign on Instagram using the hashtag “SaveSheikhJarrah” to bring international awareness to the displacements. Their campaign sparked demonstrations across the West Bank and the launching of the #SaveSheikhJarrah movement.

For more on this and other similar stories, see our Forcible Home Expulsions topic.

Where Are They Today?

Today, Mohammed El-Kurd is an award-winning poet, writer, journalist, and organizer. He is cofounder of the #SaveSheikhJarrah movement. Currently, Mohammed serves as the first ever Palestine correspondent for The Nation. RIFQA, his debut collection of poetry about his grandmother, a refugee driven from Haifa in 1948, was published by Haymarket Books in October 2021. Mohammed holds an MFA in creative writing from Brooklyn College (CUNY) and a BFA in writing from Atlanta’s Savannah College of Art & Design (SCAD). He is the recipient of numerous honors and awards.

Muna El-Kurd is an influential journalist and activist who cofounded the #SaveSheikhJarrah movement.

In 2021, Muna and Mohammed were named among TIME Magazine’s 100 “Icons of the Year.