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Israel continues expanding illegal Israeli outposts into Silwan

July 30, 2018 3:22 P.M. (Updated: Aug. 3, 2018 11:57 A.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- The Israeli authorities have allocated millions of shekels for the establishment of a new illegal Israeli settlement project in the Silwan neighborhood, under the name of the Jewish Yemenite Heritage Center, near the Al-Aqsa Mosque, in occupied East Jerusalem.

The Wadi Hilweh Information Center and the Batn al-Hawa Committee in the Silwan neighborhood said in a joint statement on Saturday evening Israeli authorities allocated about 4.5 million shekels for the illegal Israeli settlement project.

The center and the committee explained that Israeli authorities claim that the property of Abu Nab, located on a land area of about 700-square-meters, used to be a synagogue in the 19th century for the Jews of Yemen and they demanded evacuation of the property since 2004.

The Jewish Yemenite Heritage Center is attempting to control and seize more than 5 dunums (1.2 acres) in the Batn al-Hawa area in the Silwan neighborhood under the pretext that it originally belongs to Jews from Yemen since 1881.

Israeli settlement associations have been gradually seizing real estate in the area by claiming ownership of the land in smaller parts and purchasing property from more easily influenced residents.

The statement mentioned that the Israeli authorities already opened a Jewish synagogue in August 2017 in the Abu Nab area, with the introduction of the Torah scroll, and the official attendance of ministers from the Israeli government and representatives from various settlement associations.

The center and the committee emphasized that the existence of a Jewish synagogue and a cultural center in Batn al-Hawa has pure political aims to expand Israeli control of the Palestinian neighborhood.

The center and the committee added that Yemeni Jews lived in the Silwan neighborhood as refugees for a period not longer than 50 years, where they were welcomed by Palestinian residents, contrary to the Western Jews who refused to live side by side.

Silwan is one of many Palestinian neighborhoods in occupied East Jerusalem that is seeing an influx of Israeli settlers. There are eight illegal Israeli settlement outposts in Silwan, the first one being under Israeli settler control since 2004.

The number of assaults by Israeli settlers towards Palestinian residents in Silwan has escalated as the illegal Israeli settlement expansion throughout the neighborhood continues.
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