Monday, May 31, 2021

#SaveSilwan : Stop the Forced Displacement in the Occupied East Jerusalem

On Friday, an Israeli Jerusalem district court decided to postpone its final ruling in yet another case involving Palestinian citizens fighting eviction orders from their homes in their occupied city by the Israeli occupation authority.

It is not another new episode in the bitter fight over Sheik Jarrah neighbourhood, but it is rather another episode in the older fight over Silwan district of East Jerusalem.

Yes, the district court decided to postpone its final ruling in the case of Silwan’s Btan Al-Hawa neighbourhood till next December where seven Palestinian Jerusalemite families are appealing against the evict orders issued by the Israeli authorities.

Save Silwan from a protest organized by the Palestinians on Friday
Save Silwan from a protest organized by the Palestinians on Friday "AFP"

We are speaking about at least 700 people on the verge of losing their homes.

The Israeli court decided to adjourn its ruling because there are two appeals filed by other Palestinian families in Silwan against the Israeli evict orders.

Israeli authorities claim that those Palestinian families are living on land owned by Jewish owners, which is untrue historically and legally.

Before we go to the history of Silwan, I must state some fundamental facts.

Legally Silwan district is in East Jerusalem, an officially recognized occupied territory by international law, the UN Nations and its Security Council as well as most of the World Community.

Israel, its orders, its laws and courts have no jurisdiction officially in East Jerusalem.  So, all the past, present and future eviction orders are officially null.

It is also worth mentioning that forced displacement can reach the level of a war crime.

The History of Silwan

Historically, Silwan is from the ancient villages in Jerusalem and actually, it is one of the areas that were originally built by the Jebusite Canaanites. The Jebusites were the true builders historically of Jerusalem if we are going to speak ancient history.

We know that Ain Silwan or “Silwan’s Well” was allocated or more of granted as an Islamic Waqf for free to the residents of Jerusalem by Caliph Othman ibn Affan, the 3rd Caliph of the Rashidun Caliphate. FYI, Othman’s Wafqs in Arabia, which is currently Saudi Arabia still exist and are active till our day officially.

In 2021, Palestinian citizens of Silwan colour and paint their houses
In 2021, Palestinian citizens of Silwan colour and paint
their houses "Ines Abdel Razek"

Fast forward to the 20th century, Silwan was among the hot spots of the Palestinian resistance against the British Occupation and Zionist gangs especially in 1936 and the famous strike that took Palestine by storm then.

In 1948, Silwan and its villages and streets fought bravely standing between the Zionist gangs and Al-Aqsa Mosque where many of its Palestinian citizens were killed.

From 1948 to 1967, Silwan which is located South of Al-Aqsa Compound or Al-Haram Al-Sherif was under Jordanian control.

Then comes the six days war of 1967 and the illegal occupation of Israel to East Jerusalem.

An Anatomy of Silwan

Silwan District is made of 12 neighbourhoods and the Palestinian residents in six of those neighbourhoods are facing the danger of eviction and displacement.

These six neighbourhoods are Wadi Helwa “6000 people living there”, El-Bostan “1,550 people living there”, Btan Al-Hawa “726 people living there”, Wadi El-Rababa “1,000 people living there”, Wadi Ya-Soul “1,000 people” living there” and Ain El-Lawza “5,000 people living there”.

Israeli NGO Ir Amim made this diagram to show the situation in Silwan’s Batan Al-Hawa street, South of Al-Aqsa Compound aka Al-Haram Al-Sherif in details. “Yes, I am quoting an Israeli NGO.”

A chart for Silwan's Btan Al-Hawa "ir amim"

You can see that eviction and occupation process started in 2004 till April 2021.

There are five big families “Dweik, Shweiki, Odeh, Rajabi and Rajabi” who own 18 units and are facing immediate risk of eviction.

There are over 80 additional families facing eviction orders that are currently being challenged in front of Israeli courts.

We are speaking about more than 100 buildings owned by Palestinian families for generations facing the threat of demolition and occupation.

Over 1,000 Palestinian residents are on the verge of displacement and 63% of them are under the age of 18.

Where will these families go if forced to leave their ancestral legal homes!?

Already according to the press archives we find, the UN condemned the past forced displacement and evictions of Palestinian citizens in Silwan like in 2010 with the controversy surrounding the construction of the Biblical King’s Garden in Wadi El-Helwa stating that the project is illegal and so on.

Why is it always Silwan or Sheikh Jarrah!?

Now for those who else wonder why the Israeli authorities and Zionist Jewish settler organizations are focusing on districts like Silwan and Sheikh Jarrah all those years restless, the answer revolves around one main thing “Al-Aqsa Mosque Complex located on the so-called Temple Mount.”

From the Palestinian houses in Silwan "Ines Abdel Razek"

Since that day the IDF entered East Jerusalem occupying it, the Israeli government began its policies to change the demographics of East Jerusalem to turn its original Palestinian Jerusalemites residents into Jewish settlers.

The Plan has been always to surround Al-Aqsa Compound aka Al-Haram Al-Sherif located over supposedly the Temple Mount with Jewish population to end the Arab Palestinian protection to Islam’s third holiest place.

Radical Jewish settlers believe that they must demolish Al-Aqsa Compound to re-build Solomon Temple again, exactly in the same place as the Dome of the Rock Mosque.

Since 1967, the Palestinian Jerusalemites who live near Al-Aqsa Mosque provided it with 24-hours protection against Jewish settlers’ attacks.

That’s Why countries like Egypt and Jordan and organizations like Al-Azhar have spoken officially and openly against the policies to “Judaize” East Jerusalem and to change its demographics.

Despite the warnings on how such policies can be catastrophic to the attempts to revive the peace process in the Middle East especially if it involves “Two-states-solution with a Palestinian state whose capital is East Jerusalem on the 1967 borders”, Israel continues to adopt them.

One must wonder then about the true intentions of Israeli politicians towards the peace process and the two-states-solutions.

Aside from the Israeli government and its policies, one must wonder about the role of the radical Jewish organizations in supporting the Jewish settlers and their illegal expansion in the 1967 Palestinian territories.

Among these Zionist Jewish settler organizations, Ir David Foundation which is financed by none other than Chelsea FC owner Roman Abramovich according to a BBC investigation. We are speaking about over USD 100 million donations!!

Ir David has a role in the ongoing tragedy of Silwan.

In summer 2009, Israel delegated Ir David to manage Silwan district itself and do not ask me how!! In the following year in 2010, the Israeli authorities decided to demolish 22 houses owned by Palestinians in Silwan and the UN objected.

Here is the BBC Arabic 30-minutes documentary in Arabic.

Already I do not know why the UN does not put those organizations and their financers in sanctions for breaking international laws, sabotaging peace and breaking the UN Security Council resolutions!???

There is a more realistically solution called BDS we can use citizens.

By the way aside from Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan, I have read about a new threat endangering the Palestinian cities inside the green line aka 1948 borders aka Israel. This time in Yafa and it seems to me that there is a systematic plan to continue making the lives of Palestinians hells so they can their land.

It is not Israel and Hamas nor it is Israel vs. Gaza. Do not get sidelined.

You may find a truce between Palestinian factions and Israel but as long as the world does not treat the root problems inside those occupied territories and hold Israel and those Jewish settlement organizations accountable, there is no real chance for peace. 

Save Silwan-Palestine
Save Silwan "We won't leave" 

Please speak up for the right of those Palestinians, amplify their voices because they were forced to shut up for a long time as they have been forced to be displaced. 

But now enough is enough and we must help them to save Silwan. 


  1. They are squatters. May Jews kick you off your land, the land you paid fair price for, move into your house, refuse to leave and not even pay rent? Read actual factual history, not Jew hating revisionist nonsense.. Please list any place you think Jews should be allowed to own land and live in peace. Certainly it is not currently allowed in your neighborhood.. You are a huge hypocrite Zenobia xenophobia..

    1. Actually they allowed freely whether as Egyptian citizens or foreign citizens who can live safely in Egypt.


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