Israeli forces raided homes in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan Wednesday at dawn, and arrested four youths. The raids and arrests took place in the regions of Al-Ein Fawqa and Al-Hara Al-Wousta. The arrestees include, Raid Reshq (17), Amer Abbasi (18), Abdel Sami’ Abu Sabih (18) and Ali Almargi (16). All face stone throwing charges.
Silwan’s residents are subject to the highest rate of arrests in Jerusalem, the vast majority justified under the pretext that the arrests protect Israel’s “security interests”. A vast majority of those arrested, are charged with stone-throwing or participation in clashes and demonstrations.
Clashes are a fact of life in Silwan, many triggered by the ongoing provocations of Israeli settlers. Silwan’s settlers are known not only for the harassment and violence they exact on the local Palestinian population but their central role in the Israeli authorities’ overall scheme to Judaize the village, creating a Jewish majority in this traditional Palestinian region of Jerusalem.
There is also a heavy presence of Israeli armed forces in Silwan. Various branches of military and police forces, in addition to special forces and municipal inspectors all play a role in what has turned into a militarized area.
Residents’ properties are often searched for “building irregularities” and tax inspections. A vast network of checkpoints are frequently erected at the entrances to and throughout the village, controlling Palestinian traffic and causing serious congestion.