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US ambassador to Israel inaugurates opening tunnel under Silwan town
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Occupied Jerusalem, ALRAY- U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman and President Donald Trump 's Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt broke open Saturday afternoon a new tunnel running under a Palestinian village in east Jerusalem, the wife of Israeli Prime Minister Sarah Netanyahu and Sheldon Adelson, the wife of a settler donor attended the ceremony.

Wadi Hilweh Information Center-Silwan explained that Elad settlement association opened the first section of the from Ein Silwan , Al-Ein Street to the middle of Wadi Hilweh playground, 350 meters long and 7meters wide.

The center noted that it will be completed after a year, where it will reach the courtyard of Moroccan gate.

Elad settlement association claims that the tunnel is part of the pilgrims' route to the Second Temple from the first century AD, where the pilgrims passed by the "temple", according to their claims.

A recording of the US ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, was published at the opening ceremony of the tunnel where he is demolishing a wall in the tunnel.

Wadi Hilweh Information Center explained that the occupation authorities closed the Wadi Hilweh and Al-Ein streets in the village of Silwan, and deployed in the nearby neighborhoods and at the entrances to the village. It erected  iron barriers in several areas ,hindering  the movement of citizens and forcing them to take long alternative roads.

Israeli left wing activist staged a demonstration at the entrances of Wadi Hilweh neighborhood against opening the tunnel and the settlement expansion inside the Arab neighborhoods. They raised slogans reading "You are a barrier to peace."

Israeli occupation forces assaulted the demonstrators, preventing them from walking in Wadi Hilweh Street towards Al-Ein Street where is the Tunnel entrance; the forces arrested an activist.

The center pointed that digging tunnels under the Palestinian neighborhoods of Silwan comes at the expense of the owners of the land. Their lives are in danger due to settlement projects, and this tunnel is one of a complex network of tunnels under Wadi Hilweh neighborhood.

It stressed that the Israeli occupation authorities continue digging a complex 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 / Moroccan Gate Square and the " Al-Buraq Square ", the western wall of the mosque.

The center added that digging tunnels has been going on under the Wadi Hilweh neighborhood for 13 years, causing an extensive landslides and cracks in several areas in the neighborhood, especially the main street, the mosque and kindergarten of the neighborhood, in addition, more than 80 houses were affected in varying degrees. More than five houses were classified as "dangerous" by the Israeli municipality because their foundations were damaged.

The Center noted that the serious landslides that occurred last March, particularly in the playground of Wadi Hilweh neighborhood and its walls, and in the land belonging to the Orthodox Church are located above the path of the newly opened tunnel.

It  explained that digging under the Wadi Hilweh area does not stop, and the drilling is done with heavy tools, and the dust is emptied from the bottom of the earth and transported by designated trucks.

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. However, the request was rejected. The occupation authorities allow access to only certain parts of the tunnels.

 

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