#SaveSilwan goes viral as Palestinians face home demolitions to make way for Israeli archaeological park
The Al-Bustan neighbourhood in Silwan, home to some 1,500 residents, is at risk of being ethnically cleansed, activists say.
Residents were given a deadline which passed on Sunday afternoon to demolish their own homes, or else occupying Israeli forces would carry out the demolition and charge them a $20,000 fine.
Residents are requesting international solidarity to pressure Israel to halt the demolitions.
Their homes in Al-Bustan are set to be replaced with an Israeli archaeological park.
Silwan at large is facing ethnic cleansing, but today we must talk about the Bustan neighborhood in Silwan. Here's a thread. #SaveSilwan— Mohammed El-Kurd (@m7mdkurd) June 27, 2021
while pride is being celebrated around the world, in less than 8 hours israel will forcefully displace over 1000 Palestinians in the neighborhood of Silwan. i urge everyone in the lgbtq+ community to speak out against this *now*— LIBERATE TRANS YOUTH (@thetransmuslim) June 27, 2021
our liberation is intertwined #SaveSilwan pic.twitter.com/4Y9uVjG8sR
The #SaveSilwan hashtag has been trending on a number of major social media platforms, including Twitter and Instagram.
19 families were given an order to demolish their own homes by today or else the Israeli colonial authorities will. The families refuse, so keep an eye on Silwan in the coming days, ethnic cleansing in the form of home demolitions might occur, displacing hundreds. #SaveSilwan— hala marshood (@hala_marshood) June 27, 2021
Residents and activists have also urged Western countries to stop arming Israel as it continues to forcibly expel Palestinians from Jerusalem.
By the time everyone in the Western Hemisphere wakes up today, 1500 Palestinians will be ethnically cleansed from Silwan to make way for an Israeli theme park. The Nakba is happening infront of our eyes and while we're asleep, with our tax dollars.#SaveSilwan— Javier Dávila #FreePalestine #NoOneIsDisposable (@XjusticeXpeace) June 27, 2021
Israeli courts have dismissed documents dating to Ottoman times presented by Palestinian families showing ownership of homes in Batn Al-Hawa, which is also part of East Jerusalem’s Silwan district.
Amnesty International demanded the evictions in Silwan be stopped.
The human rights organisation's deputy MENA director, Saleh Higazi, said: "This is yet another illustration of Israel's criminal policy of forced displacement of Palestinians in motion."
The razing of Palestinian homes has continued throughout the coronavirus pandemic, with the UN saying last week that demolitions reached a four-year high between March and August 2020.
Four out of five of Palestinians in occupied East Jerusalem live under the poverty line, and applying for building permits comes with various taxes and fees amounting to tens of thousands of dollars.
As a result, only seven percent of Jerusalem building permits have been allocated to Palestinian neighbourhoods in the past few years.
Applications for building permits are also known to take years to be processed, giving Israeli courts a loophole to increase Palestinian home demolitions by branding structures as "illegal".
Israel's forced expulsions of Palestinians in East Jerusalem sparked international protests earlier as attention focused on the plight of residents of the city's Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood.
Most of the Palestinian families who currently face expulsion from Sheikh Jarrah were settled there in the 1950s under a UNRWA programme after being forcibly displaced from their homes during Israel's founding in 1948.