Palestinians hold sit-in at site of scheduled home demolitions June 22, 2009

Silwan Neighbourhood,

Silwan Neighbourhood,

A group of Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem, including lead clerics with the Islamic Waqf in Jerusalem, held a non-violent demonstration Sunday in the Al-Bastan neighborhood in Silwan, an area scheduled for takeover by Israeli authorities. According to documents made public by the Israeli Jerusalem municipality, Israel plans to destroy 88 Palestinian homes and apartment buildings in the neighborhood – a move that would displace up to 1500 Palestinians.

The plan set forward by the Israeli Jerusalem Municipality would demolish the Palestinian homes to make way for a Disney-like Biblical theme park to try to appeal to tourists.

During the sit-in on Sunday, the head of the Islamic movement in Israel, Raed Salah, condemned the Israeli plan, saying that it will result in the destruction of 75% of the homes in the neighborhood. Salah added that the residents of Al-Bastan “are facing ethnic cleansing, and the [Israeli] occupation is trying to seize every opportunity to implement its plans inside Jerusalem.”

The Palestinian residents of the neighborhood, along with Israeli and international supporters, have

constructed a tent on the site of an already demolished home, and have launched a non-violent campaign to resist the ongoing Israeli home demolitions in Al-Bastan.

According to the Palestinian Authority Minister of Jerusalem Affairs Hatem Abed Al-Qader, “this tent is now the main source of concern for the Israeli authorities as solidarity groups and European officials are visiting it, as well as Israeli leftists.”

Thousands of Palestinians living in East Jerusalem have already been rendered homeless by Israeli home demolitions, and thousands more are at imminent risk, as Israeli authorities continue their blatant disregard for signed agreements and international law by continuing the razing of whole neighborhoods in East Jerusalem, which is part of their announced plan to take over the city and claim it as the capital of Israel.


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