Silwan house already demolishedAs I said in my last journal, no concrete archeological evidence has been found to link the site with King David. Evidence for that is historical and biblical. The archeological remains are most probably Canaanite, I’m told. There is intense debate in Israel within the profession over the ethics of private financing by settler organisations of an important archeological site. The debate extends into international circles too. As a European archaeologist said to me ‘follow the money’ and indeed, as well as the political rationale, the planned expansion of the site is aimed at the lucrative Jewish heritage and Biblical tourism market. Tourist infrastructure is now being built in the village of Silwan where the site is located, whereas barely a shekel has been spent on community infrastructure for decades. Moreover, in the path of this expansion stand the homes of Silwan’s Palestinian inhabitants. Uri Shitreet, the Jerusalem City Council engineer who issued the 88 pending demolition orders, says ‘we need to return the city to a landscape of yore.’

A banner in the Silwan residents’ centre says ‘No tourist attraction on the ruins of 1500 peoples’ homes!’ and another on a nearby school declares ‘We are not leaving!’ Fighting words for a battle that is so uneven. Jerusalem mayor Nir Barkat says openly that he wants to decrease the percentage of Palestinians: ‘I have to balance Jerusalem and keep it Jewish, as the Jewish capital of the world.’

For our team, each demolition order contains a heartbreaking story. We know some of the women whose homes are at risk through visits we have made with fieldworkers from the Women’s Committee for Legal Aid and Counselling.

Pages: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13