Israel finances NIS 4 million light show for tourists in East Jerusalem “national park” 31May12 May 31, 2012

Alternative Information Centre  -  30 May 2012

 

The Jerusalem Municipality, together with Israel’s Ministry of Tourism, have allocated NIS 4 million for the development of a sound and light show in the ‘City of David’ National Park in the occupied East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Silwan.

The sound and light show will be developed by a government company in “Jeremiah’s cistern”, an ancient underground cistern recently uncovered in the park’s entrance.

Israel has privatized management of the “City of David” National Park to the Elad Association, a wealthy settler-affiliated organization with donations of some EUR 9.3 million in 2008. Elad’s work in Silwan is overseen by the Nature and Parks Authority and the Antiquities Authority.

The City of David Visitor’s Center is ranked among the top five tourist attractions in Israel, growing from 25,000 visitors in 2001 to 350,000 visitors in 2008. The Ir David settlement is being built alongside the archaeological sites.

The archeological diggings in Silwan are conducted in tunnels under the homes of the village residents. The diggings have already resulted in a collapse of portions of the village road.  Alongside the digs, the “City of David” settlers have conducted a campaign for the past two decades to take over Palestinian homes in the village. The Israeli settlement in Silwan receives complete backing from Israel, which provides private security for the settlers at a cost of tens of millions of shekels yearly. The security guards act violently toward the residents of Silwan, often shooting at them with live fire. On 22 September 2010 a private security guard fatally shot Samer Sarhan, a resident of the al Bustan neighbourhood of Silwan.

Silwan sits just south of the Old City walls in East Jerusalem. It counts 55,000 residents, 50 percent of whom are below the age of 18. 75% of these children are estimated to live below the poverty level.


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