Clashes in Silwan following threat to demolish protest tent
Tensions were high in Silwan today concerning the possible intentions of Israeli police to implement their threat to demolish a protest tent in the neighborhood of al-Bustan. On Thursday, Israeli police contacted Silwan resident Naim Rwidy and ordered him to remove the tent, which was erected on his property, before a deadline of 8am this Sunday, October 17, or warned that they would demolish it themselves. Naim refused, stating, “I didn’t build this tent myself. It is the property of the people of Silwan, and it will not be removed by my hand.” According to the Committee to Defend Al Bustan Neighborhood, the people of Silwan intend to further intensify their activities in response to this illegal demolition threat. As of this afternoon, many Palestinians had gathered in the protest tent in response to rumors that bulldozers had been seen in Silwan. Israeli forces have also stepped up their presence in the neighborhood of Bir Ayyub, where clashes erupted this morning, and in Wadi Hilweh, where clashes are currently taking place. These latest confrontations appear to have begun when settlers, backed by Israeli forces, threw stones at local Palestinians, who responded to the attack in kind. Israeli soldiers then shot large amounts of tear gas at Wadi Hilweh residents.