The tunnel-settlement labyrinth


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Tuesday, 13 September, 2011 | 01:46 « Wadi Hilweh Information Center – Silwan, Jerusalem

Silwan, Jerusalem (SILWANIC)

The authority wielded by Elad settler association impacts increasingly on the lives of Palestinian residents of Silwan and other districts of East Jerusalem. Some residents have likened Elad to a “kingdom within a state”, given its labyrinthine network of control over infrastructure and funds in Jerusalem. The jewel in Elad’s crown is the exclusive power it holds over Silwan’s historical sites, the chief earner in the mammoth revenue it gains in Jerusalem. Elad’s privately-hired, publicly-funded settler security militia command a conspicuous presence on the streets of Silwan, where they are engaged in continual violent harassment and provocation of Palestinian residents.

Waleed, a resident of Silwan, states that “Elad reaps its revenue from stolen Palestinian land, largely through the Absentee Property Law. Palestinian residents experience no benefit whatsoever from the tourist industry in our neighborhood, while Elad extends its reach of control over ever more land. This occurs with the full cooperation of the Jerusalem Municipality and Israeli ministries, who act like Elad’s puppet, serving its every need.”

Elad has officially opened two tunnels underneath Silwan as part of the City of David archaeological settlement site, one burrowing towards Mount al-Mukaber in south Silwan and one in the north east of the village. Elad is also active in the Mount of Olives region, to which the tunnels are currently being extended by round-the-clock labor. The extension of the tunnels ensure the expansion of Elad’s control over the region.

Tourists who visit the City of David visitors centre, constructed on the historical lands of Wadi Hilweh, learn nothing about the realities of Silwan: they are presented with a fabricated image of the region’s past and present.

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