Israeli Settlers Take Over Palestinian House in East Jerusalem

Residents of the Palestinian Silwan neighborhood said some 20 Jewish youths moved in the middle of the night while the family living there was away.

Nir Hasson
Nir Hasson
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Settlers in Silwan.
Settlers in Silwan.Credit: Mustafa Kharouf
Nir Hasson
Nir Hasson

A group of Israeli settlers took over a contentious building in the heart of the Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan in East Jerusalem early on Wednesday.

Residents of Silwan said that some 20 Jewish youths moved in around 1 A.M. while the Palestinian family residing there wasn't home.

The house, knowns as Abu Nab, is adjacent to another building, known as Beit Dvash, which is owned by settlers. Nearby is Beit Yonatan, another contentious apartment building inhabited by settlers.

According to some accounts, the residents of Abu Nab sold it and left it willingly. The settler group Ateret Cohanim has waged a lengthy legal battle over the building, which early in the 20th century was a synagogue that served the small Jewish Yemenite community that lived in Silwan.

The Jerusalem municipality said it isn't dealing with the case since as far as it is known the building was empty and is owned by the settlers.

"Jews have the right live anywhere they choose in the world, especially in Jerusalem," the city said. " the Jerusalem municipality and Israel Police aren't involved in the case. No warrant was imposed on the Arab residents. This is a civilian issue that has nothing to do with the authorities."

In 2010, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat came under pressure from the attorney general and the state prosecution to evacuate the Beit Yonatan building. Barkat then announced that if he is forced to evict the settlers, he would insist on evicting the Palestinian residents of the Abu Nab building as well.

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