B’Tselem: Plans Moving Forward to Expell 2000 Palestinians From Homes

27 February 2009

The Jerusalem Municipality appears determined to move forward with the demolition of 88 homes in the Al-Bustan neighborhood of Silwan, located near Occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City. According to a well-attended press conference this morning sponsored by The Civic Coalition for Defending the Palestinians’ Rights in Jerusalem, surveyors have descended on the neighborhood which often signals imminent demolition. When completed, up to 2,000 Palestinians will be uprooted from their homes.

The Municipality is following a vicious policy, where they use city planning to achieve military, political, and nationalistic goals. Palestinian communities are fragmented and then isolated through forced dispossession from their houses and land and, in other cases, the use of zoning and planning to restrict growth. A coordinated effort is used to build roads, establish settlements, create parks, and designate archeological sites through Palestinian communities. Once families are forced from their homes there is little space for them to stay in Jerusalem, thereby furthering the Judaization of the city.

Moving forward aggressively with evictions and demolitions at this time is seen as a confrontation to President Obama, and to ensure that the agenda is set here, and not in Washington. The new government in Israel is showing that they will stand fast in negotiation and not coddle to Washington.