On Monday, October 4, we visited an apartment in the Old City. The apartment was one of eight apartments in one building occupied by Palestinian families. One night in July, occupants from 7 of the eight apartments attended a wedding. When they returned home at 3 a.m., they found that Israeli settlers had moved into their homes while they were at the wedding. Only one apartment remains occupied by its Palestinian owner. The settlers are protected by the IDF, the police – who have erected police barriers in the apartment courtyard, and private security guards. The Palestinians whose home were seized, sat in the street outside the house for several days and were accompanied on several occasions by the current EA's, in protest of the actions of the Israeli settlers. Although the Palestinians have obtained several court rulings that the Jewish settlers improperly seized their home, the Palestinians have so far not been able to have the Jewish settlers evicted.
On the afternoon of October 4, we visited the Palestinian family who was home at the time of the seizure. In order to visit the family, one of the children had to ask the settlers and the private security guard if it was okay if his family had visitors. While the settlers agreed to allow us to come in, we were told that we were not allowed to take pictures. The family that lives there has to have someone in the house at all times in order to avoid having their apartment seized as well. During our visit, the owner explained that over the last few days, in the evening, the settlers attempted to take his furniture out of his house and put it in the street. This means that they entered his home, without permission, grabbed his furniture without permission and attempted to set it on the street. His Palestinian neighbors prevented this effort from occurring. As a result of hearing this story we returned that evening around 8:45 just to provide a presence in the street if another attempt was made to take the furniture.
Fortunately, no effort was made to seize the belongings of this family. The settlers across the street, however, were quite disturbed. They shouted down from the roof top, asking who we were, why were we in the street, did we want something, were we lost, and did we need help? When it became apparent that nothing was going to happen we decided to go back home. The last two nights we have returned to continue to provide a protective presence. Fortunately, so far nothing has happened.