Silwan, one of the largest and the oldest Palestinian towns in area, and most close to the Al-Aqsa Mosque. It enjoys a strategic location of religious and historical importance that distinguishes it from other Jerusalem towns.
Silwan’s area extends over 5,640 dunams, and is inhabited by 60,000 Jerusalemites. It is divided into 12 neighborhoods, 6 of which are threatened with either completely demolishing their homes, under the pretext of building without a permit, or evacuating them and expelling their residents in favor of settlement associations.
Recently, the occupation authorities escalated their fierce attack on the town and its residents, including issuing demolition and eviction orders for hundreds of homes.
The occupation municipality has handed 6,817 judicial and administrative demolition orders to homes in Silwan neighborhoods, in addition to eviction orders for 53 residential buildings in the Batn al-Hawa neighborhood in favor of settlers, according to Fakhri Abu Diab, a member of the Silwan Lands Defense Committee.
He reported to Safa that there are 6 neighborhoods in the town that are under threat of demolition and ethnic cleansing and that more than 40% of Silwan's buildings are threatened with demolition, using the pretext that they are illegal.
Among the most important of these neighborhoods, according to Abu Diab, is the Wadi Hilweh neighborhood, which is adjacent to the southern wall of the Old City and Al-Aqsa, and extends over an area of 750 dunums, inhabited by 5,000 people.
He explained that the Elad Settlement Association is digging tunnels under the neighborhood's houses until the number of excavations and tunnels has reached 21, and there are 128 homes threatened with collapse as a result of the cracks caused by the excavations, in addition to 5 homes threatened to be seized under the "Absentees' Property" law.
He pointed out that 11 homes received demolition orders, on the pretext that their owners did not obtain building permits. Meanwhile, the occupation built 42 outposts in the neighborhood.
As for the Al-Bustan neighborhood, it extends over an area of 70 dunums, in which 1,550 people live, distributed among 100 homes. 97 homes are at risk of demolition, of which 17 are being tried according to the Israeli “Kaminitz” law. Accordingly, 13 Jerusalemite families face the risk of deportation and displacement from their homes.
Abu Diab stated that these orders are irreversible, pointing out that the demolition of the Al-Bustan neighborhood aims to establish a "biblical national park."
As for the Batn al-Hawa neighborhood, it is part of the middle neighborhood of Silwan. The Ateret Cohanim settlement association claims ownership of the land, which has an area of 5 dunams and 200 square meters. Therefore, 86 families, including 726 individuals, were given eviction orders, claiming that “the land belongs to Jews from Yemen.”
As for the reasons for targeting Silwan, Abu Diab attributed this to ideological and political reasons, and its proximity to Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Old City, and as a protective shield for Al-Aqsa. Therefore, the occupation wants to remove its residents from the mosque’s vicinity, to change its reality and Islamic character.
Abu Diab stressed the need to deter the occupation and stop its violation of international law, and to pressure it internationally to prevent it from expelling Jerusalemites and demolishing their homes, as they are crimes against humanity, and in violation of international laws.
Saleh Shweiki, a member of the Committee for the Defense of Jerusalem Lands, told Safa that the town of Silwan is subjected to a systematic and dangerous Israeli attack aimed at demolishing and evacuating thousands of homes and expelling its residents in favor of the settlers.
He explained that the occupation seeks to empty Silwan from the Palestinians, in preparation for the complete control of southern Al-Aqsa, leading to the establishment of a “Talmudic garden”.
To confront the arrogance of the occupation in Silwan, Al-Shweiki stressed that the resistance in all its forms is the main factor in repelling the fierce attack on the town, as well as the steadfastness of the Jerusalemites.Source : Safa