JERUSALEM – Israeli police yesterday morning quelled a rally against the forced expulsions of Palestinian families from the Batn al-Hawa area of Silwan in occupied East Jerusalem, according to an information centre and witnesses.
The Wadi Hilweh Information Centre said that heavily-armed Israeli police violently cracked down on the participants in the rally against the forced dispossession of Palestinian families of their houses in Batn al-Hawa, south of Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, beating them up and detaining a 16-year-old teen after hitting him on the face using rifle butts.
Police reinforced their deployments in the vicinity of the Israeli Central Court and set up metal barriers to prevent the participants from reaching the court building at the time of a hearing to review an appeal submitted by the families against their forced expulsions.
A similar rally was held on Tuesday evening, and involved dozens of Palestinians chanting slogans against their forced expulsions in a sit-in tent in the neighbourhood amid beefed-up police deployments.
Head of the Committee for the Defence of Batn al-Hawa, Zuheir al-Rajabi, said that 86 families, comprising some 1,750 members and living in 15 buildings, face the imminent risk of forced dispossession.
The Elad settler group seeks to forcefully displace Palestinians from Jerusalem in line with the policy championed by successive Israeli governments to ethnically cleanse Jerusalemite Palestinians.
- Israeli settlers yesterday seized an old building in Arab Ar-Rashayida village, east of the occupied West Bank city of Bethlehem, according to a local official.
Mayor of Arab Ar-Rashayida, Fawz Rashayida, told WAFA that the group of settlers took over a 400-square-metre old building, which had previously served as a base for the Jordanian army before 1967, cleaning it, connecting it to the electrical and water supply networks, and installing lightings as well as beds inside.
He pointed out that this area, which is very close to the village, is vital and is deemed off-limits to the villagers and other Palestinians as the Israeli occupation authorities cite the designation of the area as a nature reserve as a pretext.
He warned that the settler move is intended to serve as a prelude to taking over hundreds of dunums of Palestinian land and establish a new colonial settlement outpost.
The village has been a target for Israeli settler and forces attacks and harassments, including halting the rehabilitation of the road leading to it, seizing livestock, tents and vehicles belonging to the villagers, as well as imposing fines as a means to forcefully displace them and make room for the expansion of nearby Israeli colonial settlements.
Designating an area as a nature reserve may convey the impression that Israel wishes to protect the environment. In practice, however, Israeli has been using such designations for advancing the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians.