Eviction of Palestinian homes and properties in Silwan Town
Israeli settler organizations are pursuing intensive colonial programs in the heart of occupied Jerusalem city and in particular in Silwan town, where such organizations are advancing plans to take over Palestinian homes and properties with the aim to consolidate their control over the city and prevent any future Palestinian expansion; which will ultimately change the status of the city and gain Jewish supremacy there.
An article published by the Israeli daily newspaper, Haaretz, on the 2nd of November 2015 revealed that the Ateret Cohanim Jewish organization, one that promotes settlement building and taking over Palestinian homes in occupied East Jerusalem, is cooperating with the Israeli Government to establish a new neighborhood in the city of Silwan. See Photo 1
For so long has the Ateret Cohanim Jewish organization and other organizations that support settlement building and expansion in the occupied city of Jerusalem, been advancing colonial plans in the city of Jerusalem and the surrounding areas. The plan revealed by Haaretz isn’t the first and is not going to be the last, where during the previous years, Israeli settler groups took over many Palestinian homes and properties in the city of Jerusalem with particular focus, on the town of Silwan and its neighborhoods. Below are details of some incidents where settler groups took over Palestinian homes and deprived Palestinian families from their right to live in their homes where they’ve been living for so many years:-
- 30 September 2014: Israeli settler groups affiliated to El Ad settlement organization took over 26 homes (8 buildings) in Baydoun neighborhood in Silwan town. The first building, which is composed of five floors, is owned by citizen Ashraf Sarhan and his family. The second building is owned by citizen Elias Karaki and is composed of two floors. The third building is owned by citizen Mohammad Baydoun. The building is built on 250 square meters. A fourth house owned by citizen Yousef Zawahreh and is 100 square meters area. The fifth building is owned by Abdel Naser Qaraeen and consists of two houses, 200 square meters area together. The sixth building is owned by citizen Mohammad Khayyat and consists of three residential apartments and finally the seventh building is owned by Al-Yamani family and consists of 8 residential apartments. (ARIJ & SILWAN IC)
- 20 October 2014: A group of armed Israeli settlers took over two residential buildings (10 apartments) in Silwan town owned by Salah Al Rajabi and Emran Al Qawasmi. Each of the occupied buildings consist of three floors (5 residential apartments). A 700-square meters land is attached to Al Rajabi building. (ARIJ & SILWAN IC)
- 10 November 2014: Israeli Settlers attempted to take over another residential building (two floors) in Silwan town owned by citizen Saleh Ash Shyoukhi.
- 15 January 2015: Israeli Settlers tried to carry out renovation works in the house of Qaraein family in Wadi Hilweh in Silwan town. Note that in 2012 the Qaraein family was able to obtain a decision from the Israeli Supreme Court that proves its right of ownership of the house and denied settlers’ ownership allegations of the property.
- 9 February 2015: Israeli Settlers attempted to take over a home and a storeroom owned by Sub Laban family in Aqbet Al Khaldyeh neighborhood in the Old City of Jerusalem. It is worth mentioning that Israeli Settlers filed a case against Sub Laban Family to evacuate the house under the pretext of “not using the property” and the Magistrate court ordered to evacuate the house but an appeal was submitted to the District court. (ARIJ & SILWAN IC)
- 18 March 2015: El ‘Ad settlement organization and settler groups seized Al Malhi family property (four residential apartments) and two pieces of land owned by Al Abbasi (500 square meters) and Sha’ban families (1200 square meters) in Silwan under the protection of the Israeli occupation forces. Al-Malhi’s property consists of four residential apartments. (ARIJ & SILWAN IC)
- 6 May 2015: The “Ateret Cohen” settlement organization took-over three residential apartments owned by Ahmad, Mohammad and Naser Abu Nab in Silwan under the pretext of being owned by the Jews since 1948.
- 9 August, 2015: The “Ateret Cohen” settlement organization handed judicial orders to Sarhan family to take hold of their land in Baten Al Hawa neighborhood in Silwan town south of Al-Aqsa Mosque; note that three houses are built on the land and were given 30 days to respond to the settlers’ claims who claim ownership of the houses and the land. The three houses are owned by Ali Sarhan and his son Mohammad and Mohammad Maher Sarhan and are inhabited by 10 people.
- 27 August 2015: The “Ateret Cohen” settlement organization took over another residential building in “Batn Al-Hawa” neighborhood in Silwan city under heavy protection of the Israeli special forces; The building consists of 12 apartments.
- 2 September 2015: Israeli settlers affiliated to the Ateret Cohanim settlement organization, and under the protection of the Israeli special forces, raided the house of late Jihad Sarhan in Baten Al Hawa neighborhood is Silwan city and took over the house.
- 22 October 2015, the Israeli occupation forces displaced members of Abdullah and Sari Abu Nab family (9 people) from their two houses in Baten Al Hawa neighborhood in Silwan town after the settlement organization Ateret Cohanim seized their houses allegedly claiming ownership of the property.
- 29 October 2015, Israeli Settlers prevented the family of Jawad Abu Nab (6 family members) from entering their house located in Baten Al-Hawa neighborhood in Silwan Town. The house of Jawad Abu Nab is one among several houses that were recently seized by settlers in Silwan town.
The dramatic and provocative Israeli settlers actions in the old city of Jerusalem, and in Silwan town in particular has grabbed the attention of the consecutive Israeli Governments who invested considerable resources in the establishment of settlements and Jewish neighborhoods even within the most–densely populated areas in Jerusalem city, of which the town of Silwan and Ras Al Amoud, with the aim to change the towns religious, historic and demographic character. Israel’s new neighborhood in the heart of Silwan town is just one among many plans that were or being implemented. Earlier in 2009, the Israeli Municipality of Jerusalem handed evacuation orders for 134 Jerusalemite families (1,500 Palestinians) living in 88 houses in Al-Bustan neighborhood, south of Al-Aqsa Mosque. The orders aim to establish “King David Park” in this place within Al Bustan neighborhood. 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 the 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.
In February 2012, the Jerusalem District Planning and Construction Committee approved the construction of a tourism project submitted by the association of "El Ad" in Silwan town south of Jerusalem city. The project is intended to be constructed few meters away from the southern walls of Al Aqsa Mosque, above the Giv'ati parking lot (as known to the Israelis), and will be called the "Mercaz Kedem (Kedem Center)." The project holds TPS No. 13392 and includes the establishment of a parking lot that is expected to accommodate 250 cars in addition to an exhibition space and classrooms and observation deck overlooking Silwan and the Old City walls (Haaretz, 2012). The area planned for the project is 16.6 dunums and comes as part of the plan to expand Israeli control area in the occupied city of Jerusalem and strengthen the Israeli tourism in the city.
It seems that Israel is not interested in or even prepared to make a meaningful peace deal with the Palestinians; Israel has never worked according to the agreements it signed with the Palestinians because it kept imposing facts on the ground through the expansion of illegal settlements and building of new ones and the construction of the Israeli Segregation Wall, including in East Jerusalem. The existence of the Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian Territory including East Jerusalem and their expansions are Illegal and contradicts with several international law rules, mainly the United Nations Security Council Resolutions 237 of 1967, and 271 of 1969 and 446 of 1979 and 452 of 1979 and 465 of 1980.
Resolution 446 March 22, 1979 calls on Israel to rescind its previous measures and to desist from taking any action which would result in changing the legal status and geographical nature and materially affecting the demographic composition of the Arab territories occupied since 1967, including Jerusalem and, in particular, not to transfer parts of its own civilian population into the occupied Arab territories'
Also the resolution 452 of the 1979 “calls upon the Government and people of Israel to cease, on an urgent basis, the establishment, construction and planning of settlements in the Arab territories occupied since 1967, including Jerusalem.”
Article XXXI of the 1995 Oslo agreement indicates that Israelis forbidden from building or planning to any project or settlements or any colonial expansion or any plan that lead to change the status of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. The article provides “Neither side shall initiate or take any step that will change the status of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip pending the outcome of the permanent status negotiations”.
The Applied Research Institute – Jerusalem