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September 12, 2015

In east Occupied al-Quds,settlers plant their flag among Arabs

World

 
September 12, 2015

OCCUPIED AL-QUDS: The Abu Snineh family woke up at their home in east Occupied al-Quds one morning to find Jewish settlers had moved into the building and Israeli flags were on the roof.
Their Silwan neighbourhood in the shadow of Occupied al-Quds Old City has become a flashpoint in the struggle between ideologically driven Israelis moving in and longtime Palestinian residents.
“There are still areas where Jews want to go back,” said Daniel Luria, whose Ateret Cohanim activist organisation facilitates the purchase of homes by Jews from Israel and abroad.
“That was our dream, not to live on the outskirts of Tel Aviv or Haifa. It’s to be close to the Temple Mount, where the kings and the prophets walked.”
The status of Occupied al-Quds is one of the main issues dividing Israelis and Palestinians.
Palestinians want east Occupied al-Quds to be the capital of their long-sought future state, while Israel claims an undivided Occupied al-Quds as its own.
Israel annexed mainly Palestinian east Occupied al-Quds in the 1967 Six Day War — a move never recognised by the international community. Before then only a few hundred Jews lived there.
Now there are 195,000 among a total population of 450,000.
In Silwan, a working class district on a steep hillside where clashes regularly erupt, several hundred Jews live among 55,000 Palestinians.
New Jewish arrivals move in at night to avoid tensions.
The Abu Sninehs’ building is the sixth that has been taken over in Silwan. They are all near one another, forming a small enclave under tight surveillance and with newly paved streets.
It stands in sharp contrast to the surrounding Palestinian areas, where public services are essentially non-existent.
“Those settlers don’t want to live with us,” said Fakhri Abu Diab, part of a voluntary committee in Silwan elected by residents. “They want to live in our places.”
Abu Diab said the latest arrivals showed up at 2:00 am. Five

minutes later, the Israeli flags had already been placed on the roof.
About 10 security cameras have been mounted on the walls and balconies, and more were being installed.
Their plan was to occupy the premises until five Jewish families move in and while a dormitory for Jewish students is set up, said Luria.
He called Silwan the “crown jewel,” located close to the Jewish quarter of the Old City, the Western Wall and the hilltop al-Aqsa mosque complex, revered by Jews as the Temple Mount.
Silwan is also home to the City of David archaeological site, where tradition holds that the biblical King David established his capital.
The settlers moving into Silwan have no doubt about what they see as Jews’ historical connection to the area. Luria said he will not give up his “homeland”.
“There is no shortage of Arab countries where they can go,” he said, referring to Palestinians in the area.
In order to acquire such buildings, settlers can use a law that places under Israeli state custody property left behind by their owners when they fled during the war surrounding Israel’s creation in 1948.