A number of Palestinians have been wounded as Israeli occupation forces started to demolish homes and shops on Tuesday morning, Safa news agency has reported. The demolition of the Palestinian-owned properties is taking place in Al Bustan, part of the Silwan neighbourhood in occupied Jerusalem.
Palestinian protesters took to the streets in an effort to prevent Israel’s demolition of a shop owned by Nidal Al-Rajabi. According to a member of the popular committee to defend Silwan, Khaled Abu Tayeh, the Israeli occupation forces attacked the Palestinians with live fire and steel-coated rubber bullets, and also fired tear gas. Several people were wounded and affected by the gas. The Red Crescent in Jerusalem has confirmed that 13 Palestinians were injured during an attack by the Israeli occupation forces on the town of Silwan.
The area, said Abyu Tayeh, was sealed off by occupation forces in the early morning. Journalists were banned from entering, and residents were prevented from getting to the buildings threatened with demolition.
Witnesses said that the Israeli forces emptied Al Rajabi’s shop and then demolished it. The pretext was that it was built without a licence. Palestinians are rarely if ever, granted building licences, which are in any case extremely expensive for them. At least 21 shops are threatened with demolition.
Similarly, at least 13 homes are also under threat because the elusive licences were not granted. An Israeli court has told the Palestinian owners to leave their properties for Jewish settlers to move in. All settlers are illegal under international law. Moreover, East Jerusalem is occupied territory, so Israeli courts have no lawful jurisdiction over the people and properties there.
Al Rajabi’s house is one of the thirteen. If it is lost to the settlers or demolished, his family of nine will be rendered homeless.
Al Bustan has around 1,550 residents. Since 2005, the Israeli occupation authorities have been trying to ethnically cleanse the area of Palestinians in order to build an archaeological theme park. Although 100 demolition orders have been issued for the area, only ten have been carried out. Israel prevents Palestinians from building homes and shops in 86 per cent of Silwan, to make it easier for illegal settlers to take over.