Clashes in Silwan as police up the stakes in Baten al-Hawa land grab

Sunday, 16 January, 2011 | 20:36

Silwan, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) — Violent clashes erupted in Baten al-Hawa district today following a large Israeli police raid on a residential home. The home of Yahya Silwadi and his family has stormed by police and plainclothes officers, who told residents that they needed to inspect the home for “illegal” additions and measure dimensions of the rooms. Clashes broke out when family members tried to prevent Israeli forces from entering the home.
One eyewitness stated that the army began firing tear gas and sound grenades immediately as neighbors arrived on the scene. Clashes spread to Bir Ayyub neighborhood, where soldiers fired live ammunition at Palestinian residents. One observer told Silwanic that “all soldiers, who were joined by guards from the settlements, used live ammunition once their vehicles broke down.” Reports state that many Palestinian children were exposed to gas fumes in Bir Ayyub when cannisters were fired at the entrance of of Hamouda Siyam Market, who responded by throwing stones at soldiers. No injuries have been reported.

The Silwadi house is located within a contested 40 dunums of Baten al-Hawa claimed by Israeli settlement groups to be the property of a Yemenite Jewish group the settled in Silwan for a period in the nineteenth century. Under the supposed right of return law these properties should be reacquisitioned to be turned over to settlement associations who are expropriating large tracts of land in Silwan today, prompting attempts by various Israeli groups to “prove” their traditional link to the land in question.

The Silwadi family, for their part, possess all relevant documents proving their legal ownership of the house and the land on which it is built, originally purchasing it from a Yemenite Jew.

A Palestinian resident of Baten al-Hawa told Silwanic that “while the settlers have so far been unsuccessful in forging a link between their groups and the property, it is very straightforward for the police to go after the owners on the pretext of “illegal” construction.”



Clashes in Silwan as police up the stakes in Baten al-Hawa land grab « Wadi Hilweh Information Center – Silwan, Jerusalem.

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