On Tuesday, the Israeli High Court of Justice ordered a halt to the excavations in Silwan. This came after several months of excavations, which caused damages to building foundations and resident’s houses in the Palestinian neigborhood of Wadi Hilwa of the town of Silwan, in East Jerusalem.The ruling was considered a direct result of the ongoing nonviolent protests against the excavations, testimony to the determination of the residents to defend their lands. The residents and their international supporters were repeatedly attacked by Israeli settlers and policemen.
Appeals were submitted to the court two months ago and the residents did not stop their nonviolent protests and activities.
In a recent statement, Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas said that Israel is ethnically cleansing the Palestinians from Jerusalem by annexing their lands, demolishing their homes and constructing the Annexation Wall. Israel was angered by these statements.
Lawyer Sami Ershayyid told the Palestine News Network news website that the order to stop the excavations in Wadi Hilwa is considered a unique legal precedent after nearly 45 days on ongoing deliberations. He added that he hopes this will lead to similar orders to stop the excavations and digging in Silwan and in the Old City of Jerusalem. ‘The excavations are endangering the foundations of the old houses and the foundations of the Al Aqsa mosque in the Old City,’ he said.
Fakhri Abu Diab, member of the Committee for Defending the Lands and Constructions in Silwan, said that this court ruling is an outcome of a public and a legal struggle, in addition to the important role of the media in exposing the illegal Israeli practices. He added that the struggle would not stop as there are 17 illegal settlement outposts in Silwan, in addition to ongoing Israeli diggings in several areas.
Resident Jawad Siyam said that the protest tent will not be removed until a ruling to stop all excavations and digging is achieved. He added that this recent ruling proves the effectiveness of nonviolent protests and the continued determination of the residents to defend their homes and lands.
Resident Ahmad Siyam, one of the residents who are directly affected by the diggings, said that dozens of residents were assaulted and arrested for protesting against the excavations, Israeli policemen and settlers repeatedly attacked them in an attempt to stop their protests.