Rainfall reveals the effects of digging tunnel underneath Silwan- new cracks, collapses and landslides
December 9, 2018


 Cracks and landslides widened in a land in Wadi Hilweh, Silwan south of Al-Aqsa Mosque as a result of continuous Israeli excavations and the emptying of dust from underneath the neighborhood to complete the "tunnel network" reaching the walls of Al-Aqsa Mosque from the west.

Wadi Hilweh Information Center/ Silwan reported that cracks and collapses had occurred during the past two days in a private land belonging to the "Greek Orthodox Church" adjacent to Ein Silwan Mosque in the neighborhood. It is used as a parking lot for the nearby residents' vehicles, while Elad settlement association is attempting to seize the land. Several months ago, settlers established a room on the land for their guards.

The center added that Wadi Hilweh Committee and the residents examined the cracks that appeared in two areas of the land. It was found that the excavation works were 4 meters deep and 6 meters deep in another area, and found concrete bags, materials and columns underneath.

The center explained that the winter usually reveals the effects of the excavations carried out by the occupation authorities underneath the neighborhood of Wadi Hilweh, where cracks, landslides and collapses appearin the houses and streets of the neighborhood and are significantly increasing. Drilling works are continuing below the neighborhood using hand tools and heavy duty at times, in addition to emptying the dust and dirt on a daily basis. Therefore, the neighborhood’s houses are at risk of collapsing as the center explained that the landslides and cracks occur from time to time, but are growing and widening at a significant and dangerous rate.

The information center warned of the danger of continued excavation works and the dumping of dust under the neighborhood of Wadi Hilweh, pointing out that there are than 70 houses in the neighborhood affected by the excavations, where cracks in walls and roofs as well as landslides appeared., not to mention the damage caused to the foundations of several houses.

The center pointed out that the residents of Wadi Hilweh headed to the Israeli courts and asked to stopthe excavation worksunderneath the neighborhood. They also called for measures to be taken to ensure the safety of the population and their properties. The cracks and landslides are increasing in all areas of the Wadi Hilweh neighborhood (its gates, walls, residential homes and commercial buildings). In 2017, three families from the neighborhood were forced to vacate their homes under the pretext of "dangerous building" due to the widening cracks and collapses to the foundations of houses resulting from the tunneling below.

Wadi Hilweh Information Center / Silwan confirmed that the Israeli occupation authorities continue to dig a network of tunnels under the Wadi Hilweh neighborhood, starting from the Al-Ein area and passing through the Wadi Hilweh main street towards the Kedem settlement project / Dung Gate courtyard and "Al-Buraq Square", reaching the western wall of Al-Aqsa Mosque.

The center added that the occupation authorities prevented Palestinians from entering some of the tunnels below the neighborhood. The residents' committee demanded through their lawyers to enter the tunnels to see the works that threaten the entire neighborhood but their request was rejected, adding that the occupation authorities allow access to only certain parts of the tunnels.