“The Judaization of the Eastern Part of Jerusalem City”
What is really happening in Al Bustan Neighborhood?

“The Judaization of the Eastern Part of Jerusalem City” <br> What is really happening in Al Bustan Neighborhood?

Al Bustan is one Palestinian Neighborhood located in the middle of Silwan city in the southeastern part of the Old City of Jerusalem. According to the British Mandate classification of lands and properties, the entire lands of Al Bustan neighborhood which spreads over an area exceeding 70 dunums have been registered as “Exclusive Jerusalem Palestinian Properties” owned by Palestinian Jerusalemites.

Following the Israeli Occupation of the West Bank including Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip, all the Palestinian Arab neighborhoods in the occupied city of Jerusalem had become a target by the Israeli occupation Authorities and the Jewish extremist organizations such as “’Ateret Cohanim“and “El 'Ad” as they illegally started seizing Palestinian properties in Silwan city in order to build the so called “City of David” on the ruins of the Palestinian houses in Al Bustan neighborhood. See Map 1


Map 1: Al Bustan Neighborhood in Silwan City south of Jerusalem


The Israeli Colonial Attack on Al Bustan Neighborhood

  • In the year 1991, Israel had escalated its colonial attacks on Silwan city where more than 40 Palestinian-owned houses had been seized and confiscated by Israeli settlers. Moreover, the Israeli Municipality of Jerusalem along with the Jewish organizations replaced the name of Al Bustan neighborhood on the official and local maps with a new Israeli name which is “The City of David”.

  • In the year 2004, the Israeli Municipality of Jerusalem issued administrative orders to demolish 88 Palestinian houses in Al Bustan Neighborhood (which constitutes more than 90% of the neighborhood's houses) allegedly for lacking proper authorization from the Israeli Municipality and that the ownership of these houses refers to the Jewish extremist organizations “‘Ateret Cohanim” & “El ’Ad” which intend to build the “City of David” at the targeted neighborhood.

  • In the year 2005, the Israeli Municipality of Jerusalem started the demolition process in Al Bustan neighborhood where two Palestinian houses have been demolished. At the end of the year, the Israeli Municipality of Jerusalem decided to halt the demolitions as a result of international efforts on the Israeli government to stop the demolitions, and a petition which had been submitted by house owners to the Attorney General of the Israeli government calling upon him to halt the demolition process.

  • Later in August 2008, Palestinian citizens of Al Bustan neighborhood had submitted a master plan to the Israeli Municipality of Jerusalem to obtain building permits for their threatened houses; the Municipality however, informed them that the plan will not be discussed as the Municipality will go ahead with its plan to build a “public park” in the neighborhood. Also the Municipality suggested that the owners of the houses voluntarily evacuate the neighborhood while in return, they will be compensated to live somewhere else outside the neighborhood. Owners of the houses rejected the Israeli offer and the Israeli authorities formally rejected the master plan which they submitted to the Israeli Municipality of Jerusalem during the early weeks of 2008.

  • Furthermore, on February 21, 2009, the Israeli Municipality of Jerusalem handed over owners of more than 134 Palestinian families (1500 Palestinians) from Al Bustan Neighborhood evacuation and demolition orders notifying them that they have to evacuate their houses for demolishing to make room for the Israeli plan, “King David Garden”.

  • In July 2009, the Israeli Occupation authorities transferred the ownership of 14 Palestinian buildings which occupy an area of more than 28 dunums to Jewish settlement organizations without being ratified by the Israeli Attorney General; in order to build a Biblical Park and Jewish houses instead of the standing Palestinian neighborhood of Al Bustan.

The demolition of Al Bustan Neighborhood……… another step towards the Judaization of the “Holy Basin

During the 90s, the Israeli Municipality of Jerusalem submitted a plan which aimed at Judiazing the area which is called by Israel “the Holy Basin'. The targeted area includes the entire area of the Old City of Jerusalem as well as vast areas from the adjacent neighborhoods and Palestinian communities, starting from Al Sheikh Jarrah and Wadi Al Juz Neighborhoods in the north, At Tur neighborhood in the east and Silwan city in the south. The plan includes:

  • Construction of an archaeological city in conformity to the biblical description of 'Holy Jerusalem' under Al-Aqsa Mosque, Silwan neighborhood and parts of the Muslim Quarter in the Old City of Jerusalem. 

  • Evacuating Palestinian inhabitants from their living places and replacing them with Jewish residents starting from Silwan city, and moving towards At Tur neighborhood, Wadi Al Juz, and Ras Al ‘Amud. See Map 2

Map 2: the “Holy Basin”


The 'Holy Basin' project is not only confined to land but it also aims to Judaize the city's cultural, political, demographic and religious status by adopting the following steps:

  • Erasing the Arab Identity of the City of Jerusalem and replacing it with a Jewish Identity.

  • Evacuating as many Palestinian Jerusalemites as possible from the “Holy Basin” area and even out of the city of Jerusalem itself.

  • Isolating the “Holy Basin” area from the Palestinian Arab neighborhoods.

  • Completing the Israeli Settlement Project which aims at linking the Israeli outposts in and around the Old city with Israeli settlements around the city of Jerusalem such as the French Hill settlement in the north, the E-1 neighborhood to the east, and east Telpiot settlement south of Jerusalem.


Prepared by:
The Applied Research Institute – Jerusalem

Categories: Israeli Plans