The Israeli Ministry of the Interior approved on Friday a plan to demolish a large section of the historic Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan, in East Jerusalem, to construct an archaeological center proposed by a right-wing Zionist organization which aims to expand Jewish settlement on Palestinian land in east Jerusalem.
The people of Silwan have faced colonization efforts for the last dozen years – from approved Israeli government projects that involve demolitions of residents' homes, to forced evictions from their ancestral homes by armed Israeli settlers who force their way in to the houses and push the Palestinian families into the street.
Numerous forced evictions have been documented by the Silwan Information Center (http://www.silwanic.net) but the Israeli police have refused to take any action against the Israeli settlers. Instead, they have, on multiple occasions, forcibly removed the tents of residents who camped out on the street in front of their homes after their homes had been taken over by settlers.
In the project approved on Friday, the right-wing Israeli settlement organization Elad will run the center, which is set to be constructed across from the 'Dung Gate' entrance to the Old City of Jerusalem. Elad also runs the controversial 'City of David' Israeli national park nearby, which was also constructed through the demolition of Palestinian homes in Silwan. This is the only instance in which a private organization has been granted control of a national park in Israel. more