05 March 2009

05/03/09 Israel Tells Arabs in Jerusalem "Get Out of Town"

Israelis in Jerusalem gives its Arab residents a big message “Get out of town”

So, if you are racist, when all else fails, and you are attempting to Ethnically cleanse an area. If you can’t steal the land off them, just destroy their houses, then maybe they will all leave. Nice one Israel, never cease to amaze me with your racism, bigotry and evilness.

Demolition plans rattle Arabs in Jerusalem

JERUSALEM // It was a bitterly cold and wet morning to spend outdoors. But for those who gathered at a makeshift tent in the Bustan neighbourhood of Silwan, East Jerusalem, on Sunday morning, it is a situation they fear they may have to get used to.

“I hope it won’t get to that,” said Saleh Shweiki, 56, an herbologist and local resident whose house is threatened with demolition by Jerusalem’s municipal authorities. “I have 13 children and with their children we are 35 people in my house.”

Mr Shweiki and 87 families have lived under the threat of demolition for nearly four years now. The demolition orders were handed down because, according to the municipality, the houses were built without licences in what is designated as a national park area.

Residents, human rights groups and lawyers are crying foul, however. They say the demolition orders are part of a larger Israeli scheme to make life untenable for Jerusalem’s Palestinian inhabitants.

Furthermore, the City of David archaeological park that the area is meant for is funded by a controversial Israeli organisation, El Ad, which is active in promoting building in areas of occupied East Jerusalem exclusively for Jewish housing and in transgression of international law.
“What is happening now is done in order to slowly but surely prevent the local population from existing there.”

The demolition orders were first handed down in 2005, but an international outcry prevented demolitions from being carried out then. A compromise was reached whereby the residents would, at their own expense, put forward a plan for the development of the area.

On Feb 17, however, the municipality rejected that plan. The new mayor in Jerusalem, Nir Barkat, promised more Jewish settlement in the occupied eastern part of the city during his campaign for office. Moreover, he left Ehud Olmert’s Kadima Party because he was adamantly opposed to any future division of the city.

“There are several recent [political] developments that have brought the demolitions up again,” Mr Kawar said, but “ultimately it’s about racism. The municipality wants the land without the people”.

“This is a battle for Jerusalem, make no mistake about it,” said Abed Shalode of the Popular Committee for the Defence of Silwan, a local grassroots organisation that is fighting the demolition orders.

“They [Israelis] may put different reasons for why they want these houses down to why they built Maaleh Admumim [the largest settlement in the occupied West Bank], but the aim is the same. They want Palestinians out.”