A “recent burst” in settler-run ‘tourism’ projects around Jerusalem’s Old City is further linking the west of the city with Silwan in the occupied East, reported NGO Ir Amim on Tuesday.
According to the organisation, the uptick in “touristic settlement projects” is part of an “intensifying belt of settlement activity in and around the Old City”.
“Blurring the Green Line”, Ir Amim added, “these projects are being implemented around the vicinity of the planned cable car recently approved”.
Together, these developments will “create a more seamless link between West Jerusalem and particularly Silwan and divert tourist traffic from its traditional routes via Jaffa and Damascus Gates”.
Settler-run, Israeli authority-backed, projects highlighted by Ir Amim include a new ‘cultural centre’ operated by right-wing settler group Elad, “strategically located between the Palestinian neighbourhoods of At-thuri and Silwan along the seam between East and West Jerusalem”.
Meanwhile, the Jerusalem Municipality recently constructed a promenade connecting the Jerusalem Cinemateque, a popular cultural establishment in West Jerusalem, directly to Elad’s new complex in occupied East Jerusalem.
“Public funds have been invested in this project which will lead unwitting Israelis and tourists alike into an arts and culture centre owned and managed by a nationalist settler organization”, Ir Amim stated.
“As a means to further tighten the band of settlement activity around the Old City and its environs”, the NGO said, “the abovementioned developments are part and parcel of measures being employed to facilitate seamless and attractive access from West Jerusalem to settlement sites scattered throughout Silwan”.
In addition to the ongoing, parallel dispossession and evictions of Palestinians, the Ir Amim update noted that “the confiscation of privately-owned Palestinian land for purported purposes of beautification” is also “intended to serve the Israeli public projected to visit Elad’s new complex and likely lead to additional settler activities in the area”.