Palestinian family lose their home to Israeli settlers

Former Mufti of Jerusalem Ekrima Sabri at the Shamasneh home in Sheikh Jarrah. (Waqf photo)
Updated 07 August 2017

Palestinian family lose their home to Israeli settlers

AMMAN: Fahamiya Shamasneh, 75, and her ailing husband Ayoub, 84, have lived in the same house in East Jerusalem for more than 50 years. On Wednesday, Israel plans to throw them out.
Their home will be handed over to Israeli settlers as part of a wider plan to boost illegal Jewish settlements in the predominantly Palestinian area of Sheikh Jarrah.
It will be the first eviction there since 2009, according to the Israeli anti-occupation group Peace Now, and has become part of a fight over the disputed status of Jerusalem.
The Shamasneh family have been living in the house since 1964 and have been paying rent regularly, which they believed gave them legal housing guarantees as protected tenants.
Nevertheless, Israel’s Supreme Court has ruled that Fahamiya, Ayoub, their son and his family have until Aug. 9 to voluntarily leave the cramped, 50-square-meter basement of their building or be forced out.
“Fifty-three years here means leaving is not easy — it is a lifetime. I was a young girl when I came to this house,” Fahamiya told AFP. “The police are threatening us. We don’t know what to do.”
Fahamiya said they had been told to leave peacefully or they would have to pay the cost of the eviction, which could be up to 70,000 shekels ($19,000).
They had not found anywhere else to go, she said.
“We will not leave of our own will. Maybe if they force us, carry us and throw us on the streets, then we’ll go. But for us to lock the door and tell them ‘here are the keys,’ that’s impossible.”
Palestinian political activists believe the eviction of the Shamasnehs and about 20 other families is a reaction to what Israel considers the humiliation of having to agree to Palestinian demands to remove security barriers at Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Eyad Shamasneh, a family member, told Arab News that the case has been in Israeli courts for years.
“Israel has targeted Sheikh Jarrah because it is close to the nearby Hebrew University on Mount Scopus.”
Daniel Seidemann, an Israeli lawyer who focuses on Jerusalem issues, said events in Sheikh Jarrah had implications  for the whole city. “Sheikh Jarrah, like any other East Jerusalem neighborhood, is a community at risk, and this is a big problem in terms of the stability and peace of the city and its political future.”
Under a decades-old Israeli law, if Jews can prove their families lived in East Jerusalem homes before 1948, they can demand that Israel’s general custodian office release the property and return their “ownership rights.”
No such law exists for Palestinians who lost their land.
According to historians, the neighborhood got its name from the 13th-century tomb of Sheikh Jarrah, a physician of Saladin.
Until 1967, Sheikh Jarrah straddled the no-man’s land between Jordanian-held East Jerusalem and Israeli-held West Jerusalem. When all of Jerusalem was occupied by Israel after the 1967 war, Israeli ambitions to claim Sheikh Jarrah grew. It is now at the center of several property disputes between Palestinians and Israelis.
Most of its current Palestinian population are refugees expelled from Talbiya in Jerusalem in 1948.


Cairo turns to Tokyo for a lesson on education

Updated 23 August 2019

Cairo turns to Tokyo for a lesson on education

  • The Japanese education system is recognized as one of the top five worldwide

CAIRO: Egypt is seeking Japan’s help to improve its education system, which has fallen to 130th place in international rankings.

The Japanese education system is recognized as one of the top five worldwide, and Cairo is hoping to apply key aspects of Japan’s approach to the Egyptian curriculum.

Education has played a major role in transforming Japan from a feudal state receiving aid following World War II to a modern economic powerhouse. 

During a visit to Japan in 2016, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi discussed political and economic development with Japanese officials, and was also briefed on the Japanese education system.

The Egyptian leader visited Japanese schools and called on Japan to help Egypt introduce a similar system in its schools.  

As part of Egyptian-Japanese cooperation, Japan’s embassy established cultural cooperation as well as technical and professional education links between the two countries. Collaboration has been strengthened from kindergarten to post-university, with Japanese experts contributing in various education fields.

Japanese experts have held seminars in schools across the country, focusing on basic education. 

During one seminar, Japan highlighted the importance of enhancing education by playing games during kindergarten and primary school, encouraging children’s ability and desire to explore.  

Education expert Ola El-Hazeq told Arab News that the Japanese system focuses on developing students’ sense of collective worth and responsibility toward society. This starts with their surrounding environment by taking care of school buildings, educational equipment and school furniture, for example.

“Japanese schools are known for being clean,” El-Hazeq said. “The first thing that surprises a school visitor is finding sneakers placed neatly in a locker or on wooden shelves at the school entrance. Each sneaker has its owner’s name on it. This is a habit picked up at most primary and intermediate schools as well as in many high schools.”

Japanese students also clean their classrooms, collect leaves that have fallen in the playground and take out the garbage. In many cases, teachers join students to clean up schools and also public gardens and beaches during the summer holidays.

El-Hazeq added that neither the teachers nor the students find it beneath their dignity to carry out such chores.

The academic year in Japan continues for almost 11 months, different from most other countries, with the Japanese academic year starting on April 1 and ending on March 31 the following year.

Japan’s school days and hours are relatively longer in comparison with other countries. Usually the school day is from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Teachers normally work until 5 p.m. but sometimes up to 7 p.m. Holidays are shorter than in other countries. Spring and winter holidays are no longer than 10 days, and the summer holiday ranges from 40 to 45 days.