A week ago, Palestinians in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan were surveilled for home demolitions by the Israeli colonial municipality. This means that demolitions can happen any time and will likely occur very soon. In addition, on 10 December, the neighborhoods of Silwan and others were given notices that announced Israeli implementation of the “cable car” project by confiscating over 8000 square meters (8 dunams) of land in the area, under the guise of “public interest” that in reality only benefit colonizers.
Both of these developments, while not new, are typical tools of the Israeli regime’s policies and practices that aim to control the maximum amount of Palestinian land with the minimum number of Palestinians. Silwan, and the other Palestinian neighborhoods of Jerusalem, have been heavily targeted by Israeli policies of forcible displacement and transfer. The goal is to ethnically cleanse Palestinians from east Jerusalem in order to expand the Israeli colonial enterprise and cement Israel’s annexation of Jerusalem.
The Israeli colonial municipality is using the threat of demolition to force the just over 1500 Palestinian residents of Al-Bustan (a neighborhood in Silwan) - all of which have demolition orders pending against their homes – to agree to a master plan that would forcibly displace them from the area. If the Palestinians of the Al-Bustan neighborhood agree to the master plan, Israel claims that it will delay the demolitions – not cancel them. The master plan, which makes no concessions for the Palestinian homes in Silwan, will eventually be carried out and the residents will be forcibly displaced - the question is only a matter of when.
With regards to the recent surveilling, at least 20,000 Palestinian homes in east Jerusalem are slated for demolition. Since the beginning of 2023, 224 structures have been demolished in east Jerusalem alone, displacing 637 Palestinians. Israeli demolitions in east Jerusalem account for 21 percent of the demolitions in the West Bank for 2023.
Furthermore, the Jerusalem Development Authority (JDA) informed the residents of Silwan that in order to implement the cable car project, it will confiscate some areas temporarily (for 8 years) and then the over 8 dunams of land will be confiscated permanently. The project, which received the approval of the Israeli colonial-apartheid regime in 2019 and includes the involvement of the French company, Cable Neige Amenagement (CNA), will confiscate lands that contain Palestinian homes and other infrastructure. Palestinians in Silwan have 60 days from the time of the notice (10 December) to object to the project, in the hopes of stalling the implementation and altering the placement of the cable columns.
It is clear that with these mechanisms, namely pending home demolitions or the threat of them, discriminatory master plans that purposely negate Palestinian presence, and transportation projects under the guise of public development and services that strictly benefit colonizers at the expense of the Palestinians and their homes, the Israeli colonial-apartheid regime aims to ethnically cleanse Jerusalem of what remains of the Palestinian population there.
Land and property confiscation and home demolitions resulting in Palestinian displacement are occurring within the umbrella of the Israeli genocidal war on the Gaza Strip - demonstrating quite clearly that Israel continues to perpetuate the Ongoing Nakba with the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians, whether it is in the Gaza Strip or the West Bank, and is doing so with international impunity. This long-standing impunity clearly demonstrates the complicity and involvement of Israel’s colonial allies, such as the USA, EU, UK, France, Italy, and Germany. As long as these states only condemn Israel’s actions through mediocre statements, rather than take practical measures to hold it accountable, Israel will continue entrenching its colonial-apartheid regime.