Palestinian presence in Al-Quds Old City under ‘mounting pressure’ from state-backed Israel settlers Published: Thu, 11-October-2018
Photo: Palestinian lady at an Israeli-police barrier in Al-Quds (Jerusalem) Old City [Anadolu Agency]

The Palestinian presence in the Old City of Al-Quds (Jerusalem) and the surrounding neighbourhoods of the city’s occupied east is “under mounting pressure”, according to Israeli NGO Ir Amim.

In a new statement issued yesterday, Ir Amim highlighted two evictions carried out last week in the Old City and Silwan.

On 3 October, Jewish settlers took over a two-unit building in the Wadi Hilweh section of Silwan, displacing two Palestinian families – seven people, including two children.

According to Ir Amim, “the site includes a sizeable empty lot that could be used to facilitate tours to the future underground tunnel that will run between the Siloam Pools and the Kedem Compound, future headquarters of Elad”, a settler-run organisation that runs the “City of David” site in Silwan.

Meanwhile, in the early hours of 4 October, settlers also took over a two-storey building (three units) “at a strategic junction in the northern section of the Muslim Quarter of the Old City, just one block from the Haram Al-Sharif”, a takeover “executed by the Ateret Cohanim settler organisation”.

The context for the evictions, Ir Amim says, is “a well-integrated programme of evictions and touristic settlement carried out by private settlers with direct backing of the state, along with wide scale demolition threats and use of national parks as a political tool to thwart Palestinian community development while boosting private settlement inside Palestinian neighbourhoods.”

Over a roughly 30-year period, Elad has taken over a total of 75 homes in the Wadi Hilweh neighbourhood of Silwan, occupied East Al-Quds (Jerusalem), in addition to its management of “City of David”.

In Batan Al-Hawa, “aided by the Israeli General Custodian”, Ateret Cohanim “is in the unique position of waging a singular, large scale takeover in a Palestinian neighbourhood”, which Ir Amim calls “the most significant settler takeover since Israel’s annexation of East Al-Quds (Jerusalem) in 1967”.

Overall, Ir Amim states, there are now “roughly 2,500 private settlers embedded in the hearts of Palestinian neighbourhoods” in occupied territory. A further 180 Palestinian homes are under threat of eviction in East Al-Quds (Jerusalem), mostly focused in the Old City and adjoining neighbourhoods.

Source: Middle East Monitor