Pictures: Cracks in the houses of the neighborhood of Wadi Hilweh in Silwan due to excavations underneath
August 28, 2016

The extent of cracks appearing in establishments in the neighborhood of Wadi Hilweh in Silwan recently increased due to the continuous Israeli excavations underneath the neighborhood.

Wadi Hilweh Information Center explained that wide cracks and landslides appeared in new places in the neighborhood and the old cracks also widened as the amounts of soil removed from underneath the neighborhood are remarkably increasing.

The center explained in a statement: “The cracks and landslides used to only appear in the winter season. Recently, the old cracks have widened and new cracks are appearing all year round which shows the increasing of excavation works taking place underneath the neighborhood putting the establishments of Wadi Hilweh at risk of collapsing at any time.”

The residents of the neighborhood explained to the center that these cracks occurred recently in “Hosh Siam” and several other others; Hosh Siam includes seven apartments for the family of Daoud Atallah Siam. Cracks started appearing three months ago and remarkably widened in the last few days; nearly 30 individuals live in Hosh Siam including children.

Landslides also occurred and damaged occurred to the infrastructure of the building of Sarfandi family and the house of the widow of the late Adnan Siam who left the first floor of her house due to the cracks several months ago and moved to the second floor where new cracks surprisingly appeared recently.

The locals added that cracks appear in the neighborhood’s streets every now and then despite the municipality’s attempts to hide them. The streets are clearly inclined and cracks are expanding and increasing in the walls. The locals expressed their extreme worry regarding this issue. 

The locals also added that sounds of digging using hand and electric tools are continuously heard underneath their homes and the more they hear digging sounds, the more cracks they notice.

Ahmad Qaraeen, member of Wadi Hilweh committee, explained that the occupation authorities began the excavation works underneath the neighborhood in 2007 and the residents were able to obtain an order from the Israeli courts to stop the excavations underneath their houses for 14 months and then they were able to obtain an order from the judge which allows the Israeli authorities to do their work if they don’t pose any threat to the lives of the residents, but what is happening in the neighborhood is a continuous digging operation without bothering to the local’s lives and safety.

He explained that the locals of Wadi Hilweh explained that they have been suffering from cracks and collapses in their house and the streets of the neighborhood because of the Israeli excavations underneath their neighborhood especially in the winter season which they call “season of collapses”. The Israeli authorities (Nature and Parks authority, Elad settlement organization and Gihon Water Company) try to avoid any responsibility when it comes to any drilling occurring underneath the neighborhood.