Pictures- Dangerous landslides in Wadi Hilweh playground in Silwan
March 2, 2019


A dangerous landslide took place Saturday morning in Wadi Hilweh playground in the village of Silwan, a few meters from the southern wall of Al-Aqsa Mosque, as a result of Israeli actions to dig a "tunnels network" reaching the walls of Al-Aqsa Mosque and Al-Buraq square to the west.

Jawad Siam, director of Wadi Hilweh Information Center, said that the residents of the neighborhood woke up this morning to a serious and new collapse in the neighborhood's playground, wall and surrounding wires, in addition to a landslide in the same area and large cracks in the surrounding walls.

He added that the work of the settlers in the vicinity of the playground and underneath does not stop, where they daily conduct excavation works using light and heavy tools, and the dust is emptied from the bottom of the earth and transported by designated trucks, which means that the occupation authorities are digging tunnels and emptying underneath the neighborhood in favor of settlement projects, totally neglecting the safety of the 5,000 inhabitants of the neighborhood, who live in real danger due to the expansion of cracks and landslides.

Siam said the affected area around Wadi Hilweh playground is considered the central site for tunneling in the neighborhood.

He explained that the most recent winter storm revealed the volume of excavations and the danger it poses to the lives of residents of the neighborhood, where new landslides appeared, especially in the main streets and in the playground of Wadi Hilweh and in the territory of the "Orthodox Church”, in addition to the expansion of cracks in walls and roofs of houses in the neighborhood.

Siam said the tunneling work was ongoing, despite the residents' attention to Israeli courts, demanding a halt to the excavation work underneath the neighborhood, which threatens their lives and puts their neighborhood at a risk of a major collapse.

For his part, Mohammed Atallah - the owner of the Wadi Hilweh playground – said that the large collapse that occurred is the outcome of 12 years of drilling and unloading the soil below, and said: "The occupation authorities tried to confiscate the land to turn it into a parking for settlers. We went to the courts to protect our land, and were able to turn it into a playground for the children and youth to play as the area lacks and playgrounds or designated area for children. Now, the stadium is not safe after the collapse.” Atallah called for the site to be secured and to conduct the necessary repairs and renovations so that the children of the area could play safely.