Re-closing Wadi Hilweh Street…and releasing Siam and Al-Zeer
September 3, 2016

The occupation police released on Saturday early morning Jawad Siam, director of Wadi Hilweh Information Center, and Khaled Al-Zeer with a 1000-Nis bail for each after interrogating them for several hours regarding the removal of cement blocks in Wadi Hilweh and opening a street that was closed by the municipality to conduct infrastructure repairs.

Siam and Al-Zeer explained that the occupation police requested them on Friday night for interrogation at Salah Eddin Street police station and confiscated their vehicles. The police accused them of opening Wadi Hilweh Street and moving the cement blocks placed in the street. They confirmed that the municipality promised to open the street on Fridays and Saturdays but it was kept closed which forced the locals to open it using their private vehicles.

During interrogation with Siam and Al-Zeer, the occupation authorities re-closed the street and fired sound grenades towards the locals who gathered requesting the opening of Wadi Hilweh Street.

Jawad Siam explained that the closed street is a vital and main street used by the locals of Silwan as well as the residents of neighboring villages from the south while they are heading into Jerusalem. Closing the street is more like isolating the neighborhood of Wadi Hilweh from the village of Silwan not to mention its effect on the movement of people inside their neighborhood.

Siam added that the locals of Wadi Hilweh are only able to reach Silwan if they take alternative long roads. Busses are unable to enter the neighborhood and the closure came with the opening of the new school year which resulted in heavy traffic jams in the area.

Siam also explained that municipality crews said the construction will last for two weeks and the street will be opened on Fridays and Saturdays but they kept it closed which forced the locals to move the cement blocks and open the road to facilitate the locals’ movement during those two days.

Siam added that the occupation intelligence requested him and Khaled Al-Zeer for interrogation at Salah Eddin Street police station regarding the re-opening of the street as well as raising the issue in the media. They confiscate their vehicles and released them after few hours of interrogation while the vehicles are still detained.

Wadi Hilweh Committee warned from closing one of the neighborhood’s main streets and completely isolating the neighborhood from the village under the umbrella of “infrastructure repairs” especially that the work is being done near a land that was seized by Elad Settlement organization; digging recently started in the land.