Palestinian residents of Silwan denied freedom of movement to boost Jewish holidaymakers' access to settlements
September 9, 2010

A large force of Israeli soldiers amassed at the "City of David" entrance this afternoon in the Wadi Hilweh area of Silwan, blockading all streets joining the main road and denying Palestinian vehicles access to the area. Recent reports confirm that Israeli troops are also moving through Wadi Hilweh in the direction of Al-Bustan, the neighborhood threatened with the demolition of 88 Palestinian homes and displacement of approximately 1,500 residents. The Jerusalem Municipality has thrown its weight behind this project which, when completed, would see the establishment of a Jewish nature park ("Garden of the King") on the site where Al-Bustan now lies. Witnesses confirmed that Al-Bustan is now sealed off by military forces from both the north and the west of the neighborhood. Soldiers have scanned the area around Silwan spring and the adjacent mosque, using both guard dogs and a explosives-detection vehicle. Israeli forces are also present in Ain el-Loza region, located in the heart of Silwan village. An eyewitness stated that the soldiers were guarding the settlement structure known as "Beit Yonatan." While Israeli forces offered no explanation as to the heavy presence in Silwan, it later became clear that today's events coincided with the Jewish holiday of Hebrew New Year. The military's intent is clearly to allow Jewish Israelis free access to the "City of David" settlement project to mark the occasion, bearing no thought for the simultaneous Muslim holiday of Eid el-Fitr, the traditional celebrations commencing tomorrow at dawn to mark the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

A force of Israeli soldiers moving through Wadi Hilweh's main street towards el-Bustan neighborhood.

Jewish visitors in moving through Wadi hilweh Street