Palestinian activists call for Silwan sit-in for families facing Israeli demolitions, forced displacement
Palestinian activists have urged a sit-in and participation in Friday prayers at the al-Bustan quarter of the east-Jerusalem neighbourhood of Silwan as residents of al-Bustan face imminent displacement after authorities began demolishing their homes this week.
Silwan families and Palestinians in the occupied territories and Israel have named the protest action "the Friday of resilience and steadfastness".
They believe it has the power to bolster morale as residents peacefully resist Israel's ongoing efforts to uproot and displace them.
The Committee for Defense of Silwan Lands and Real Estate has said that residents will not "surrender in the battle against the occupation's onslaught". It has accused Israel of enforcing policies in flagrant violation of international law and dismissing any intervention opposed to its interests.
Palestinian officials in Silwan say that Israeli authorities have earmarked more than 100 homes for planned demolitions in al-Bustan, claiming they were built without permits.
While an Israel court suspended demolition orders for 52 properties on Sunday, 17 properties effectively had their orders approved. Authorities have since bulldozed two commercial businesses in the al-Bustan quarters, including a butcher's shop
Owners have been told to dismantle their properties themselves, warning that they must shoulder the demolition cost, said to be up to tens of thousands of dollars.
Protests in the neighbourhood and others in Silwan were met with heavy force by Israeli forces on Tuesday, who used rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse demonstrators, injuring 13.
Israel's attempts to destroy Palestinian homes in al-Bustan, home to some 1550 Palestinians, began in 2005, in order to make way for an archaeological park. The neighbourhood lies south of the Old City of Jerusalem and the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Across East Jerusalem, Palestinians are frequently denied building permits or face extreme barriers to receiving them. Meanwhile, Israeli authorities have confiscated one-third of Palestinian land, occupied since 1967, to build settlements, despite them being considered illegal under international law.
More than 100,000 Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem are at risk of displacement, according to the UN office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.