Israeli Knesset (Parliament) members with the orthodox Shas party marched through the Silwan neighborhood of East Jerusalem Monday, accompanied by Israeli police and right-wing settlers. The police blocked local Palestinian residents from reaching their homes, and fired tear gas and rubber-coated bullets, injuring six.The ‘visit’ to Silwan comes in the midst of dozens of pending demolitions of Palestinian homes in the neighborhood, as part of the Israeli Jerusalem municipal plan for the area known as the ‘E1 Plan’, in which the Silwan neighborhood will be emptied of its Palestinian residents and replaced with Jewish-only housing and a Biblical amusement park for tourists.
The Israeli right-wingers who came to Silwan Monday stated that they wished to show support for a group of settlers who illegally occupied a Palestinian home in the neighborhood several weeks ago. The settlers attempted to claim control of the house, while the Palestinian family they illegally evicted remain camped out on the street in front of their ancestral home.
A number of incidents in different parts of Silwan left six Palestinians injured by rubber-coated steel bullets and tear gas canisters fired by Israeli police. Several children reportedly threw stones at the armored police vehicles invading their neighborhood.
Monday’s provocation follows an incident on Sunday in which Israeli police arrived in Silwan to allegedly evacuate an Israeli settler house built illegally on Palestinian land in 2003. The settler living there was not evacuated, but the presence of the police sparked conflict with local Palestinian residents, two of whom were arrested overnight. They were identified as Feras (25) and his brother Anan (15) Suweiki.