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Create awareness against the Israeli destruction of Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem

The objectives of this project, started in 2007, is to create awareness of and promote opposition to Israeli plans to destroy Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem -particularly in Silwan- under Article 212 of the Israeli Planning and Building Law.

In 1967, Israel adopted two basic principles in their rule of East Jerusalem. To rapidly increase the Jewish population and hinder growth of the Arab population, a policy that has translated into a miserable life for the majority in east Jerusalem. To reach such a goal, Israeli governments used many tools, most sucessful of them being demographic change through land confiscation and the building of settlements. Israeli rules and regulations against Palestinian Jerusalemites as well as other obstacles and impediments to Palestinian building projects contributed to the plan.

Most of the Israeli colonization programmes have been carried out around the Palestinian populated areas inside the old city, Silwan area is different as the colonization program targets the built area of the community itself. The colonization move against Silwan escalated since 1991, where more than forty houses were taken over by Jewish settlers, Wadi Hilwe neighborhood in particular was the most targeted one because of its proximity to the wall of the Old City.

Law 212 of the “Israeli planning and building law” is used to manipulate the act of demolition to be carried out without conviction. The law states that; “Where an offence under this chapter has been committed in respect of any building and, if any person had been convicted thereof, the court would have been competent to order as provided in section 205, the court may so order even without any person having been convicted as aforesaid “. This article has been used frequently in Jerusalem area including the Mugrabi quarter in 1967 and Al Bustan area in Silwan in 2004. No accurate data available on the number of house affected [1]. 

In spite of its danger, nothing is made to explore the racist nature of this article and the serious threats against the Palestinian population of Jerusalem particularly the Silwan neighborhood at this stage. This proposal is specifically designed to explore the expected danger of this article to existence of this neighborhood and its inhabitants, and in doing so, the project intends to conduct several integrated activities to bring it to public attention and to create the necessary momentum against it.

The project will prepare a study on the threats of article 212 that could put Palestinian houses or neighborhood in danger, especially as related to Silwan area. Several activities will be conducted to achieve these objectives. This includes: conducting consultation meetings with lawyers and laws experts to explore means to confront this article; Forming a local lobby to advocate against this article and to stand against actions used in accordance with this article; Initiating a process to generate international interest to the threat of this article with a view to forming international solidarity with the Palestinians threatened by this law.

[1] House Demolitions in Jerusalem, Study paper prepared by ATF in which the danger of the article 212 was found. October, 2006

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