Green spaces to appropriate vast tracts of Palestinian land around Old City

Saturday, 19 February, 2011 | 12:18

Silwan, Jerusalem (SILWANIC) —  Reports were published in local Palestinian, national Israeli and foreign media in 2009 regarding the Israeli government’s intention to establish a band of gardens and green spaces around Jerusalem’s old city. The project, to be undertaken in collaboration with various Israeli settlement associations, aims to ensure an unbroken ring of Jewish territory around the old city, thus circumventing any possibility of Palestinian claims to the area in a future state solution. The project has been underway since the era of former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s position as mayor of Jerusalem, commencing in September 2009 as reported by Israeli daily Ha’aretz. Israeli institutions report that settlers’ involvement in this campaign has been integral, while Palestinian residents of Jerusalem were never informed, a standard practice in the implementation of Jerusalem Municipality programs. The project is linked to Town Planning Scheme 11555, the details of which were leaked to the Wadi Hilweh Information Center last year revealing the Municipality’s intention to “restore” vast tracts of Wadi Hilweh, Wadi Rababa and Al-Bustan districts of Silwan and will in fact entail widescale demolition of Palestinian property and displacement of its population. The Wadi Hilweh Popular Committee has launched a case against the scheme in the Israeli courts, on the basis that the project clearly does not have serve the Palestinian citizens of Silwan – those who will be most affected by it. Scheme 11555 is also being privately funded in part by various settlement organizations, including a bribe paid to a chief engineer of US $90,000, according to Israeli lawyer Danny Zedman. If completed, the project will encompass 9 park parks around the city, cutting through all areas surrounding the Old City, Wadi Hilweh and Wadi Rababa in Silwan and Sawwanah area near the Mount of Olives in particular. The annual budget for the project is slated as 60 million NIS (12.2 million EU), for a period of 8 years, thus totalling approximately 480 million NIS (98 million EU). One insider stated that “this project would deprive the Palestinians of their land and annex vast new territories in to Israeli control. The project is the most dangerous undertaken by the Israeli government in Jerusalem since 1967.” 

Silwan village

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Green spaces to appropriate vast tracts of Palestinian land around Old City « Wadi Hilweh Information Center – Silwan, Jerusalem.

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