Settlers Enter Palestinian Apartment Building in Silwan

Building in East Jerusalem neighborhood adjoining Old City occupied by settlers from Elad organization while resident was at police station after being summoned for questioning.

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East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan.Credit: Daniel Bar-On

Settlers from the right-wing organization Elad-City of David Foundation on Wednesday entered into a four-apartment residential building in the mainly Palestinian East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan, just south of the Old City.

The resident of the apartment was at the local police station at the time, after receiving a summons the previous evening to report for questioning on Wednesday. She said later that she was not in fact questioned, but that while she was at the station the settlers removed her belongings from her home and took possession of the building.

The location of the building is thought to be of particular importance to Elad, due to its close proximity to the City of David national archaeological park that the organization administers and to other homes that the group owns.

Over the past two decades, Elad has changed Silwan nearly beyond recognition, transforming it into a mixed neighborhood with at least 100 Jewish families.

The apartment building was sold by a relative of the owner’s to a nonprofit organization called of Yad Yafah that is associated with Elad. Despite the sale, the seller’s wife, siblings and children had refused to vacate the premises. After protracted legal proceedings, on Wednesday the seller came to the building, accompanied by security guards, police officers and representatives of Elad.

After the woman and her children left the building in order to be questioned by police, the settlers moved in. A confrontation then erupted between Palestinian residents and the police.

Elad said in a response statement organization that it works to develop the City of David and ancient Jerusalem and assists entities that choose to invest in the development of the area.

“To the best of our knowledge, the property in question was purchased and registered by Yad Yafah more than 20 years ago. ... It exercised its rights to the property in accordance with the court’s ruling, and with the agreement of the parties, Yad Yafah provided alternative housing for use by the family,” Elad said.

“The police assisted the Enforcement and Collection Authority in carrying out a court eviction order. The owner was present. Without any connection, the mother was summoned to complete her testimony over a complaint that she filed,” The Jerusalem police said in a response.

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