Nearly 120 Palestinian families in Silwan, in occupied East Jerusalem might see their homes destroyed so that an Israeli religious theme park can be built. According to Al Jazeera, the site is where the Israelis believe a garden belonging to King David (Prophet Dawood, upon him be peace) had been located in Biblical times.
Al Jazeera reports that roughly 1 500 people in more than 100 buildings in the al-Bustan area of Silwan are at risk of losing their homes.
Israeli forces had earlier this week accompanied Jerusalem Municipality inspectors to deliver notices to demolish at least 13 of those homes and buildings within 3 weeks, after an Israeli court ruled they had been constructed without permits. However, social activist Angela Godfrey-Goldstein, the co-director of the Jahalin Solidarity organization, and a former member of the Israeli Committee Against Home Demolitions, says that the notices had not evenbeen delivered properly. She says the notices were often “not received, blow away and are sometimes found on the ground,” and that, “Many Palestinians only know their houses are about to be demolished when they wake up to the sound of doors being bashed in or the day before when inspectors come to photograph their target.” Many Palestinians will face displacement and life in a tent once their homes are demolished.
Building permits are rarely granted to Palestinians, with Israel aiming to limit Palestinian construction in East Jerusalem so that Jews could live there making Israel appear to be a Jewish state. Al Jazeera reports that the Jerusalem Municipality’s plan to build Gan Hamelech (King’s Garden) Park on al-Bustan’s land, is only one fragment of Israel’s Judaization campaign.
Meanwhile in March, demolitions included, aside from Palestinian family homes, buildings that had housed, or were supported by, NGOs. Sixteen structures, funded by international humanitarian donations were demolished, while another 29 had been served demolition orders.
Al Jazeera reports that Aviv Tatarsky, a researcher from the Israeli Ir Amim NGO, wrote in the Jerusalem Post that Israel wanted to transform the identity of Jerusalem’s Old City Basin, home to the most holy sites to the three Abrahamic religions, to one that predominantly reflected the Jewish identity. He wrote that this was the reason behind evicting Palestinian families in neighborhoods such as Silwan and Sheikh Jarrah, with the help of settlers.
Umm Muhammed Umar