In protests against Israeli settlement expansion in the Silwan and Ras al-Amud neighborhoods of East Jerusalem Friday, Israeli police assaulted demonstrators with rubber-coated steel bullets and tear gas, abducting 34 and shooting a 17-year old with live ammunition.Israeli sources reported that three police officers were slightly injured when they were hit by stones thrown by Palestinian youth. According to the Israeli police spokesperson, the 34 abductees were ‘arrested’ for ‘disturbing the peace’.
The neighborhoods of Silwan and Ras al-Amud have become centers of non-violent protest in East Jerusalem in the last two years, after the Israeli Jerusalem municipality announced a plan to cleanse the neighborhoods of their existing Palestinian residents in order to build a biblical theme park and replace existing homes with Jewish-only housing developments.
To that end, hundreds of demolition orders have been issued by Israeli authorities to Palestinian homeowners in these neighborhoods, and dozens of homes have already been demolished by Israeli forces.
Protest encampments have been established by Palestinians whose homes have been destroyed or taken over by Israeli settlers, and hundreds of Israeli and international supporters have joined the encampments and protests to call for an end to the takeover of East Jerusalem neighborhoods in violation of international law and signed agreements.
The protests on Friday focused on the 43rd anniversary of the Nakba (Catastrophe), which will be on May 15th. This is the day that Palestinians mourn the creation of the state of Israel on Palestinian land in 1948. Israeli historians have documented the 1948 cleansing of 443 Palestinian villages in what is now Israel, creating 750,000 refugees at that time, whose numbers have grown in subsequent decades.