Middle East Monitor / June 28, 2021
The deadline set by the Israeli occupation to demolish the homes of 13 Palestinian families in the Al-Bustan area of Jerusalem’s neighbourhood of Silwan has ended on Sunday. The families are now facing forced deportation to make way for an Israeli archaeological park.
Commenting on the issue, an activist reported by Al-Araby al-Jadeed stated that the Al-Bustan neighbourhood, home to some 1,500 Palestinian residents, is at risk of being ethnically cleansed.
Residents of the area were given a deadline, which passed on Sunday afternoon, to demolish their own homes; otherwise, Israeli forces would carry out the demolition and charge them a $20,000 fine.
Israeli occupation courts have issued demolition orders against 71 other homes in the same area, without specifying a date for implementation.
This is part of the policy of ethnic cleansing and liquidation of the Arab presence in neighbourhoods near Al-Aqsa Mosque, Wafa news agency reported, stating that such measures aim to change the demographic structure and increase the number of Israeli settlers in Jerusalem.
The Al-Bustan area of Silwan, which is south of Jerusalem’s Old City, is home to 119 families in 88 buildings under threat of demolition in favour of the Israeli archaeological park.
Since 2005, citizens of Al-Bustan have received warnings to demolish nearly 90 homes under the pretext of building without a permit.
The Israeli Occupation Municipality of Jerusalem has already officially changed Al-Bustan’s name to Gan Hamelekh (The King’s Garden), claiming that it was a garden for Israeli kings thousands of years ago.
Located to the south of Jerusalem’s Old City, adjacent to its walls, Silwan has a population of about 33,000 Palestinian citizens and has been targeted by Israeli settler organizations for years.
In some cases, Palestinian residents have been forced to share homes with settlers, according to Wafa news agency.
Some of these families have lived in Silwan for more than 50 years since they were displaced from the Old City in the 1960s.