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Al-Bustan neighborhood is on hot tin
Al-Bustan neighborhood is on hot tin
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Occupied Jerusalem, ALRAY - Day after day, the fears of Palestinian original residences of the Al-Bustan neighborhood in the Silwan area of east Jerusalem are growing up, since Israeli occupation courts and municipalities refused to freeze orders of demolishing 116 Palestinian homes in the neighborhood.

In other words, no legal law could prevent the demolishing operations which may in act in any time.   


Al-Bustan neighborhood located the middle of Silwan town that is adjunct to Al-Aqsa Mosque. It is just 300 meters away from its southern wall, and extended to 70 acers.


Israeli occupation municipality has been seeking to demolish the whole neighborhood under the pretext of unlicensed since 2005. Its population of 1,500 spared no efforts to defend their right to the neighborhood, refusing to leave and displacing them. 


The residents of Al-Bustan neighborhood organize a sit in every Friday protesting the demolishing policy, stressing their adherence to their homes.


Member of the Committee for the Defense of the Lands of Silwan Fakhry Abu Diab, stated that Israeli municipality refused to freeze the demolishing orders in Al-Bustan neighborhood, thus means that Israeli bulldozers could carry out the demolishing orders without previous notice because there is no legal objection.


Abu Diab explained that Israeli municipality uses the demolishing policy as a collective punishment against Jerusalemites who practice their right to defend themselves against Israeli racist practices, and its operations of repression and brutality, that seeking to evict the original inhabitants.


He added that the holy city suffers a critical populous dilemma and it is need for about 5.000 residential units annually, however Israeli occupation authorities refused to issue construction licenses for Jerusalemites.


Israeli occupation municipality has demolished more than 5.000 Palestinian facilities in east Jerusalem under the pretext of not being licensed.


 since 1967, and displaced 39.000 Palestinians. It also has issued 22.350 demolition orders; the town of Silwan had the largest share of them, amounting to 7,500 administrative and judicial demolition orders.


He noted that Israeli occupation authorities has demolished 2150 Palestinian houses in Silwan since 1967, and seek to demolish 116 more houses in Al-Bustan neighborhood and forcibly displacing the origin residents after it had demolished 15 houses during the last 15 years.


Al-Bustan neighborhood is one of six Jerusalemite neighborhoods in Silwan town that are threatened of being demolished so that Israeli occupation authorities can take it over. 


Abu Diab points out that the occupation municipality had previously rejected all engineering plans that were submitted to organize and license houses in the Al-Bustan neighborhood, and refused to freeze demolition decisions.


The residents of Al-Bustan neighborhood have taken up many methods to protect their homes and defend them. They did not leave any legal, diplomatic and public means except to use them in order to prevent the demolition, in addition to international pressure and the mobilization of world public opinion with their cause.  

Despite all international pressure, Israeli occupation authorities insist on applying its schemes in Al-Bustan neighborhood which enjoys an Islamic and historical importance.


By the beginning of 2023, Israeli extremist settlers backed by the Israeli minister of national security Itamar Ben-Gvir push forward adopting new construction schemes in Al-Bustan neighborhood that plans to demolish buildings, and converting part of its eastern, central and western sides into public and open parks, as Abu Diab put.


He noted that they had not been informed of the Israeli scheme on the neighborhood, however the residents of the neighborhood stressed their refusal to any plans that seek to evict and displaced them.  


Palestinian children constitute 63% of AL-Bustan neighborhood, whom are the most affected body, since they are vulnerable to be homeless.


Abu Diab warns of the escalation of demolitions in occupied Jerusalem, especially in Silwan town, saying “demolition operations may escalate dramatically after the holy month of Ramadan, under the far-right Israeli government, and its failure to provide security and safety for the settlers.


“If Israel be able to demolish Al-Bustan neighborhood, the conflict will be intensified further, and it will pave the way to demolish an entire neighborhood in Silwan town,” he said.  


“Al-Bustan neighborhood is on a hit tine like the rest of occupied Jerusalem, all has to hold the responsibility to intervene immediately to stop Israeli criminal actions in the city,” he concluded.