Forcible Judaization of Jerusalem
“Israel to start demolishing Al Bustan Neighborhood in East Part of Jerusalem”

Forcible Judaization of Jerusalem <br> “Israel to start demolishing Al Bustan Neighborhood in East Part of Jerusalem”
On November 1, 2011, the Municipality of Jerusalem served five families from the Jerusalemite town of Silwan administrative orders to demolish their houses under the pretext of lacking building permits. The targeted houses located in Al-Bustan, Ein Al-Louzeh, Wad Yasoul, Wadi Ar-Rababeh neighborhoods in Silwan and owned by ‘Odeh, Jalajel and Al-‘Abasi families. This Israeli step came as part of a prolonged and accelerated Israeli plan to Judaize the city of Jerusalem and obliterate the Arab Palestinian Identity of the city, where the shortest way to achieve this is through the eradication of the Arab Palestinian communities and neighborhoods in east Jerusalem mainly by demolishing their houses and depriving them of building and expanding on their own land under fake legal, religious, and historical pretexts.
The Town of Silwan …….Long History of Abusing
Silwan is a Palestinian Jerusalemite town, located to the southeastern part of the old city of Jerusalem. The town extends along Qedron Valley and runs alongside the eastern slopes of Jabal Al-Mukabber. 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.
 Since the Israeli military occupation of the Palestinian Territory including East Jerusalem in 1967, the town has been targeted by the successive Israeli governments and Jewish extremist settlement organizations and movements such as ‘Ateret Cohanim and El ‘AD Jewish organizations . See map 1

Map 1: Silwan city along with the Al-Bustan neighborhood
Targeting Silwan: a Chronology
  • In 1991 , the Israeli colonial attacks against Silwan had been escalated when more than 40  Palestinian houses were forcibly taken over by Jewish settlers, where Al Bustan neighborhood in Silwan is a section of the part labeled ‘Ir David’ and was the most targeted one due to its proximity to the Western Wall of the Old City.
  • Later on and specifically in 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 are possessed by  the Jewish extremist organizations “‘Ateret Cohanim” & “El ’Ad” which intend to build the “City of David” at the targeted neighborhood.
  • 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, but their request had been formally rejected in January 2008.
  • 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 so as to make way for the Israeli plan, “King David Garden” as a part of a larger plan to build the “City of David” on the ruins of the Palestinian houses in Silwan.
  • On June 21, 2010, the Building and Planning Committee of the Israeli Municipality of Jerusalem approved a plan to demolish 22 Palestinian houses in Al Bustan neighborhood. See map 2

Map 2: The Israeli map of Silwan with the proposed project of (City of David) *Source: Municipality of Jerusalem

Map 3: Al-Bustan neighborhood

The Palestinian Jerusalemites………….Systematic Eradication

Netanyahu’s right-wing government is moving forward with the definite colonial and expansionist strategies adopted by the successive Israeli governments from the very beginning of the Israeli Occupation of the Palestinian Territory with a particular focus on the occupied city of Jerusalem. These strategies are based on keeping the Israeli dominance over the city mainly by increasing the Israeli population in the city while decreasing the Palestinians’, to maintain its ultimate goal to keep “united Jerusalem” as the eternal unilateral undivided capital of Israel.

These strategies were achieved during the prolonged occupation of the city through methodical colonial planning strategies that imposed restrictions and regulations on Palestinians and deprived them from developing and expanding on their own property while illegally building and expanding the illegal Israeli settlements in all over the Eastern part of Jerusalem. These settlements are interrupting the geographical contiguity of the Jerusalemite neighborhoods and communities while the Israeli Segregation Wall strangulates the occupied city and totally isolate it from the rest of the West Bank Governorates.

Legal & International Status

The Israeli systematic practices and violations conducted by the Israeli Occupation Authorities against the Palestinian Jerusalemites and their properties reflect the Israeli government colonial ideology which is based on pushing Palestinians toward the voluntary displacement from their city. The Israeli systematic house demolition campaign, carried out by the Israeli Occupation Authorities in the Eastern Occupied part of Jerusalem city is illegal and contravenes the laws and customs of war and human rights norms. The following are but few articles under international humanitarian law and human rights law conventions regarding house demolitions and forced displacement.


The Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949:

  • Article 53: ‘Any destruction by the Occupying Power of real or personal property belonging individually or collectively to private persons, or to the State, or to other public authorities, or to social or cooperative organizations, is prohibited, except where such destruction is rendered absolutely necessary by military operations.’
  • Article 47: ‘Protected persons who are in occupied territory shall not be deprived, in any case or in any manner whatsoever, of the benefits of the present Convention by any change introduced as the result of the occupation of a territory, into the institutions or government of the said territory, nor by any agreement concluded between the authorities of the occupied territory and the Occupying power, nor by any annexation by the latter of the whole or part of the occupied territory.’
  • Article 147: ‘Grave breaches to which the preceding Article relates shall be those involving any of the following acts … extensive destruction and appropriation of property, not justified by military necessity and carried out unlawfully and wantonly.’

Hague Regulations of 1907:

  • Section II Article 23: ‘it is especially forbidden- to destroy or seize the enemy’s property, unless such destruction or seizure be imperatively demanded by the necessities of war.’
  • Section III Article 46: ‘Family honor and rights, the lives of persons, and private property, as well as religious convictions and practice must be respected. Private property cannot be confiscated.’

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted and proclaimed by General Assembly resolution 217 a (III) of, December 10, 1948.

  • Article 17 reads: ‘No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.’ Which means it bans Israel from destroying or confiscating the property of the Palestinians at any case.



[1]  “El ‘AD” and  “’Ateret Cohanim” : Israeli extremist settlement organizations  and established with the aim of  Judaizing the city of Jerusalem where one of its projects is to  construct what is called the ‘city of David’ (Ir David in Hebrew) in the place that is home to the Silwan citizens for hundreds of years.



Prepared by:

  The Applied Research Institute – Jerusalem




Categories: Military Orders