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People of Silwan holding onto their homes

Israeli court rejects appeal against demolition of 58 houses in Jerusalem’s Wadi Yasoul neighborhood

Palestinians sit in a courtroom hearing on evictions in East Jerusalem at Israel’s High Court on Monday, October 25, 2021 (Photo Credit: Aaron Boxerman/The Times of Israel)

Jerusalem24 – Yesterday, the Israeli Central Court in Jerusalem gave the green light to demolish dozens of Palestinian homes in the Wadi Yasoul and Al-Bashir neighborhoods in the town of Silwan in the occupied city of Jerusalem.

A lawyer of the Palestinian families, Ziad Kawar, told the Al-Ayyam newspaper that, “unfortunately, the Israeli Central Court rejected the residents lawsuit.”

He added, “Unfortunately, the court did not take into account the claims of the residents of Wadi Yasoul and Al-Bashir neighborhoods, and did not give the residents time to organize the two neighborhoods. We expected the court to give the residents a deadline so that they could carry out the procedures for organizing, knowing that the residents have been trying for a long time to do these procedures.”

The residents have been trying to appeal the court’s decision for years. In an interview on 24FM, Fakhri Abu Diab a member of the Silwan Defense Committee said, “we submitted the courts with 18 files in 2021 and made no progress in any.”

Palestinians await a hearing on evictions in East Jerusalem at Israel’s High Court on Monday, October 25, 2021 (Photo Credit: Aaron Boxerman/The Times of Israel)

Kawar indicated that the demolitions could affect hundreds of Palestinians living in Jerusalem. The Israeli municipality of the occupied city had asked the court to approve the demolition decisions claiming that it would carry out the demolition in stages and not all at once.

Abu Diab said that, “the reasons that lead the high court to reject the appeal, is the same reason that the supreme council will reject them; the Israeli judiciary is the part of the occupation’s system.”

The court’s dismissal of the appeal gives the Israeli municipality the green light to carry out demolitions at any time against 58 out of the 84 homes threatened with demolition in the said neighborhoods to make way for expanding an Israeli national park in the area.

Wadi Yasoul extends over an area of ​​approximately 300 acres and is home to 1,050 Jerusalemites. The demolition of the 58 houses will leave at least 725 Palestinians homeless.

Illustrative: Palestinians protest outside the District Court in Jerusalem against Israel’s plan to evict Palestinians in Silwan, on May 26, 2021. (Photo Credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

The neighborhood residents have been struggling since 2004 to obtain approval for building permits from the occupation’s municipality in Jerusalem to avoid the demolitions but to no avail. Abu Diab says that, “if there was a fair court and trial there would’ve been at least one building permit, or at least we could have appealed the dispossession of a Palestinian family.

The people of Silwan are saying the legal proceedings are just a cover, and are calling on international pressure on Israel. According to Abu Diab, “they have often covered their decisions to dispossess Palestinians of their homes, the settlement expansions and more as legal matters to market them as such in front of the world and avoid international pressure.”

He adds that, “We do not rely on Israeli law, this is just a means to buy time. This is politics, and their policy is in violation of international law. The world needs to step in to stop all of this.”

Palestinians and left wing activists protest against the expulsion of Palestinian families from homes in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah. April 16, 2021. (Photo Credit: Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Despite the Israeli court decision, the people of Silwan are still holding onto their homes.  Abu Diab says, “we need to start mobilizing, a lot of the eviction in areas like Sheikh Jarrah was stopped or delayed, that was because of popular pressure.”

Mohammad Hamayel

Ramallah based journalist, Mohammad graduated from Al-Quds University with a B.A. in Media and Television. He has covered the 2015 Jerusalem Intifada as well as the Great March of Return for international media outlets. currently an editor/presenter at Jerusalem24. A UN alumni and a follower of global events and politics, especially American affairs.

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