The Israeli-run Jerusalem Municipality on Monday issued demolition orders to dozens of Palestinian families of Al-Bustan suburb in occupied East Jerusalem’s Silwan neighbourhood.
The demolition notice stated: “We wanted to inform you that we will carry out the demolition according to the court’s decision. To minimise damages, you must leave the home without people and items until 21 days after receiving this letter. The municipality is not responsible for property damage if the house is not evacuated as mentioned.”
This comes after the Israeli court postponed its decision on an appeal lodged last month by two of the seven Palestinian families in Silwan facing forced displacement from their homes.
Outside, residents of Silwan had gathered alongside dozens of supporters to denounce the demolition orders.
However, Israeli security forces violently disturbed the rally, beating protestors and arresting 16-year-old Sultan Surhan and Qutaiba Odeh, a resident of Silwan whose house is threatened with a demolition order.
Qutaiba Odeh said that what was happening in Sheikh Jarrah was now happening in Silwan.
The Al-Bustan neighbourhood in Silwan, which is south of the Old City, has 119 families in 88 buildings that are under threat of demolishment to make way for an Israeli archaeological park.
The Jerusalem Municipality has already officially changed Al-Bustan’s name to Gan Hamelekh (The King’s Garden), claiming that it was a garden for Israelite kings thousands of years ago.
Israel’s widely practiced policy of home demolitions and destruction of other property targets entire families. Such demolitions are regarded as illegal collective punishment and are a violation of international human rights law.