The Palestinian town of Silwan lies on the edge of East Jerusalem, just outside the walls of the Old City. Many Palestinian families in Silwan have been issued with demolition orders for their homes and now live in fear of imminent eviction by the Israeli authorities in order to make way for a new tourist attraction.
The Israeli authorities have given control of much of the land in Silwan to Elad, an Israeli settlement organisation. Elad want to expand their tourist centre in the midst of this bustling Palestinian neighbourhood and the Israeli authorities have ambitious plans to turn the area into a National Park. These new tourist developments would see the largest single demolition of Palestinian homes since 1967, the year that Israel occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank. Palestinian homes, businesses and schools would be replaced by gift shops, visitor centres and car parking for tourists.
The demolitions are illegal under international law, but this hasn’t stopped the bulldozers. Israeli settlers have already moved into parts of Silwan in an attempt to take over the town and evict Palestinian families who have lived there for generations. Backing the settlers, the Israeli security forces have stepped up their programme of violence and intimidation against the Palestinian residents of Silwan. Night raids, army checkpoints and violent harassment are a daily part of life for Palestinians in Silwan.
With new demolition orders still arriving, the residents have come together to save their homes. But they need our support.
It’s up to ordinary people around the world to take action. Please share the campaign.