Silwan territory is located in Jerusalem, south of Al-Aqsa Mosque. Silwan includes 12 neighborhoods, where a total 15762 residents of 6 neighborhoods of Silwan are endangered with eviction.
Silwan is subjected to forced displacement, ethnic cleansing, and a blurring of identity.. all lead primarily by “Ateret Cohanim” and “Elad” foundation.
Who is “Ateret Cohanim” settler organization?
A settler organization established in 1978 as a non-governmental association, whom main objective is: to enhance the presence of the city of Jerusalem as a unified city and a vital center for Jews.
The association aims to achieve its goal by taking over Palestinian real estate and transforming it into settlements and outposts, in order to increase the number of Jews around the center of the historic city of Jerusalem.
How does “Ateret Cohanim” take over real estate?
- Exploiting Israeli laws that legitimize the appropriation of Palestinian real estate under various pretexts, such as the Absentee Property Law.
- Claiming in Israeli courts the existence of ancient Jewish “ownership” of Palestinian lands and homes.
- Complex purchases by brokers, clients and companies are often registered in tax havens.
The organization implements the policies of “Israel” in Judaizing Jerusalem, and benefits from its complex relations with official institutions, on top of which are the occupation municipality in Jerusalem and the “Israel Lands Administration”.
Today, the “Ateret Cohanim” organization controls:
- 76 buildings in the Old City, in which 1,500 settlers live.
- 9 buildings (40 apartments) in Batn al-Hawa in Silwan, in which dozens live.
- About 80 families from “Batn-al-Hawa” neighborhood in Silwan are facing eviction lawsuits from their homes since 2011, which were filed against them by “Ateret Cohanim”, claiming that they were built on “Jewish endowment land”.
While Palestinians can technically appeal against demolition orders, courts often refuses to examine Palestinian ownership documents & rarely question settlers’ claims. Courts are a political tool used to fulfill settlers’ goals.
Sometimes, demolitions are carried out before residents can even appeal. Silwan resident, Areej Burgan, recalls the morning of April 17, 2019: “My husband, his mother, my six children and I were sleeping. I woke up at the sound of doors banging… The main entrance door had been broken down and the occupation forces were in the courtyard… They told us to immediately leave the house, without allowing us to take movables or luggage. We went out with my children and watched them demolish the house. The bulldozer destroyed my kitchen before my eyes. I was not even allowed to take clothes. The only clothes I have left are the ones that were hung on the washing line outside.”
Palestinians in Occupied Jerusalem have been resisting forced displacement and ethnic cleansing in various neighborhoods throughout the city. Just like Sheikh Jarrah, families in Silwan are fighting to save their homes and community from being taken over by government-backed Israeli settlements.
Let’s also fight to #SaveSilwan!
Let us raise noise about this injustice and continue the fight to save all Palestinian communities in Jerusalem.