Take Action to Save Silwan!
The Palestinian town of Silwan lies on the edge of East Jerusalem, just outside the walls of the Old City. Many Palestinian families in Silwan now live in fear of imminent eviction by the Israeli authorities in order to make way for a new tourist attraction. A total of 88 houses have been issued demolition orders, and many families have been told they’ll lose their homes by the end of September.
The Israeli authorities have given control of much of the land in Silwan to Elad, an Israeli settlement organisation. Elad want to expand their tourist centre in the midst of this bustling Palestinian neighbourhood and the Israeli authorities have ambitious plans to turn the area into a National Park. These new tourist developments would see the largest single demolition of Palestinian homes since 1967, the year that Israel occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank. Palestinian homes, businesses and schools would be replaced by gift shops, visitor centres and car parking for tourists.
The demolitions are illegal under international law, but this hasn’t stopped the bulldozers. Israeli settlers have already moved into parts of Silwan in an attempt to take over the town and evict Palestinian families who have lived there for generations. Backing the settlers, the Israeli security forces have stepped up their programme of violence and intimidation against the Palestinian residents of Silwan. Night raids, army checkpoints and violent harassment are a daily part of life for Palestinians in Silwan.
With new demolition orders still arriving, the residents have come together to save their homes. But they need our support.
It’s up to ordinary people around the world to take action. Please share the campaign, and look out for action at the start of September. For all the latest news, you can follow the campaign on twitter @SaveSilwan.
Settlers move into a house in Silwan
03 September 2012
Israeli settlers accompanied by a heavy police presence have moved in to a house in Silwan, leaving the family sharing the space with the settlers. Police and settlers entered the family’s property on 2 September, and took over the room at the front of the house. The house, which has belonged to the Hamdallah family since 1952, is on the edge of East Jerusalem’s largest Israeli settlement Ma’aleh Zeitim. The takeover of part of the Hamdallah home has sparked fears of further evictions in Silwan.
Silwan is a strategically key area of East Jerusalem, located close to the Old City and Al-Aqsa mosque, and has been the subject of intense settlement activity. The Hamdallah family have fought an 11 year legal battle against American billionaire Irving Moskowitz, who claims that he bought the land on which their home stands. Moskowitz, who has funded many of Israel’s illegal settlements, wants to expand the Ma’aleh Zeitim settlement which borders Silwan and the Hamdallah house.
East Jerusalem is an occupied territory, and all settlements and home demolitions in the area are illegal under international law. However, this has not stopped the Israeli authorities from unrolling ambitious plans to expand settlements in the area and to turn large parts of Silwan into an Israeli National Park and tourist site. The plans could see more than 88 houses demolished, displacing over 1,000 Palestinians. You can find out more about the situation in Silwan on the War on Want website.
Demolition orders issued in Silwan
05 September 2012
New demolition orders have been issued in East Jerusalem, as settlement activity in the area intensifies. Five demolition orders have been handed to families in the Al-Bustan neighbourhood of Silwan, only a few days before Israeli settlers took over part of a house in the neighbouring Ras Al-mud district of Silwan.
There are over 88 houses in Al-Bustan currently threatened with demolition to make way for the “The King’s Garden”, an Israeli tourist site. Disturbingly, the latest demolition orders refer to the Palestinian neighbourhood of Al-Bustan as the “King Neighbourhood”. Despite the fact that Silwan is a densely populated Palestinian neighbourhood, large areas have been earmarked for redevelopment into a tourist site and archaeological park. Silwan, which lies in a strategically important area of East Jerusalem, is regarded as occupied territory under International Law and all demolitions and evictions there are illegal.
Residents have also expressed concern after the Israeli Antiquities Authority commenced new archaeological excavations near the Bab al-Rahme cemetery in Silwan, with one family prevented from burying a deceased family member in the cemetery. According to reports from the Wadi Hilweh Information Centre, the Antiquities Authorities prevented the burial and claimed that they held the rights to the burial land.
War on Want is campaigning against the planned demolitions. You can find out more about Silwan and take action by visiting our campaign pages
Palestinian families in Silwan, East Jerusalem, have been told they’ll lose their homes by the end of September. Silwan faces one of the largest demolitions Jerusalem has ever seen, and up to 1,000 people could be left homeless. It’s vital that we support people in Silwan as they fight to save their neighbourhood.
The Israeli authorities plan to demolish large parts of Silwan to build a controversial tourist site. In place of a bustling Palestinian neighbourhood, there are plans to build visitors centres, gift shops and car parks for foreign tourists. The community in Silwan is defiant. They have come together to resist the demolitions.
But the bulldozers could arrive at any time – it’s vital that we support their struggle to stay in their homes.
Save Silwan Campaigner
War on Want
Source: War On Want