International Solidarity Movement
19 February 2010
A vigil began close to 12:30PM at the protest tent in the neighborhood of Silwan, East Jerusalem. More than one hundred Silwan community members gathered to listen to speeches and commenced mid-day prayer in unison. Following the collective prayer the community members marched through the streets of Silwan.
Today’s demonstration is a response to the pending demolitions of over 200 homes in Silwan. These demolitions were slated to be government sanctioned “price tag” actions in response to the anticipated eviction of the illegal Zionist squat Beit Yonatan. Ateret Cohanim, a Zionist settler organization, built Beit Yonatan in the heart of Silwan. Their building plan was approved for a four story complex, but and extra three stories were added without approval. This is in contradiction to the four-story limit to which Palestinians in the neighborhood are held.
In a hard-fought battle, the Mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat, grudgingly agreed to evict the settlers after more than a year of attempting to find a legal strategy to avoid serving the orders. Before the legal appeals, State Prosecutor Moshe Lador demanded the sealing orders be served. Mayor Barkat will execute the sealing orders of Beit Yonatan, but only in conjunction with the execution of nearly 200 home demolition orders for Palestinian homes in Silwan.
The illegal squat will be allowed to remain through extra-legal machinations until 200 homes housing 1500 individuals are demolished. The main reason for the displacement of so many Palestinians is to pave the way for a tourism center pertaining to the history of King David and the excavations undertaken to find relics related to his dynasty.