Victory for Joint Non-Violent Resistance in Silwan

18 March 2008

This morning, Tuesday March 18th, the Israeli High Court ordered that the excavations that have damaged numerous Palestinian homes in the East Jerusalem village of Silwan, be stopped. Many attribute the success in the court to the joint non-violent demonstrations involving Palestinian and Jewish Israeli activists against the excavations. For several weeks, Palestinians, Jewish Israelis, and international volunteers have stayed in a protest tent where they were repeatedly harassed and attacked by Israeli settlers. The excavations were ostensibly part of a greater archaeological project searching for parts of the original City of David. However, the excavations were done without consultation of the Palestinian inhabitants of the area, and in many cases the digging caused severe structural damage to people’s homes.
Control over the archaeological dig was given by the Antiquities Authority to ELAD, a right-wing settler movement in Jerusalem that is known for its attempts to “juadaicize” the area by forcing Palestinians from their homes, through a variety of tactics. Independent archaeologists criticized these digs as unprofessional and at risk for endangering other archaeological findings in the area. The residents of Silwan have vowed to maintain the protest tent in defiance of other archaeological digs and settlement expansion in the area.