Jewish settlers try to seize a Palestinian home in Silwan
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Jewish settlers try to seize a Palestinian home in Silwan

On Friday, June 25th, 2010, there was a massive protest made up of Palestinian and international activists opposing last week’s preliminary approval for an East Jerusalem redevelopment plan that involves 22 house demolitions in Jerusalem’s Silwan neighborhood.

Clashes erupted when Israeli Occupation Forces protected a demonstration of settlers trying to seize the home of a Palestinian family in Silwan. Jewish settlers demanded the Palestinian home under the claim that it is built on the site of synagogue of the city of King David. When Palestinian inhabitants of Silwan tried to stop the settlers from seizing the home, Israeli Occupation Forces violently intervened on behalf of the settlers.

These clashes continued for two days with 20 demonstrators injured on the first day and 30 on the second day. One 16 year old boy lost his right eye when the military shot a tear gas canister in his eye. A woman living in the
neighbourhood suffered a miscarriage as the Occupation Forces drowned the area in tear gas and fired sound bombs and rubber bullets to suppress the resistance and protect the Jewish settlers. They also closed Ras al-Amud road which runs through Jerusalem, which provoked further clashes between the Occupation Forces and the Palestinian
neighborhood youth. Fortunately, there were no injuries or arrests.

Protests in the area have been common since last week’s announcement of the house demolitions. This plan passed an initial hearing in the municipality’s Local Planning and Construction Committee. It focuses on the El- Bustan section of the neighborhood, where 88 Palestinian homes
are threatened with demolition orders on the grounds that they were built without proper permits and considered illegal by the city.

However, Israel’s construction permit and zoning policies discriminate against Palestinians wherein Palestinians are rarely granted permits while Israelis easily receive them. Thus, the legal grounds provided for this demolition plan are unjust and simply a way for Israel to demolish the homes to make room for a park they intend to build in the area and that has already been zoned for construction.