An Israeli policeman stands outside house formerly belonging to the Palestinian Siyam family, as a family member looks on through the gate during their eviction in Silwan, July 2019 (AFP)
The Israeli municipality in Jerusalem has issued eviction notifications against a number of Palestinian households in the neighborhood of Bab al-Silsila (Chain Gate) in Jerusalem’s Old City.
The eviction notices come on claims that the houses are on the verge of collapse due to cracks in the walls. Palestinians say the cracks are caused by Israeli excavations under the buildings.
Adnan Ghaith, the Palestinian Authority’s governor of Jerusalem, told WAFA that the risk of collapse and the cracks in the buildings were the result of excavations carried out by Israeli settler organizations with the support and protection of the Israeli government in an attempt to give Jerusalem a Jewish identity while displacing its Palestinian residents.
Rashid Zahdeh, a resident of Bab al-Silsila, said that 22 families may be forced to evacuate their homes. He said that seven families have already been told to evacuate their homes as soon as possible while the remaining families are expected to get the notices sometime soon.
He said that the Israeli excavations at Bab al-Silsila, which is one of the gates leading to Al-Aqsa Mosque, are going to displace 200 Palestinian residents of Jerusalem, which he believes is an intentional policy to force remove Palestinians from the Old City under various pretexts and replace them with Jewish settlers.
Faiza Abu Asab, one of the residents of Bab al-Silsila, told Middle East Eye that Israeli excavation made the houses “unliveable”, as some sections of walls had collapsed or bore large cracks.
Abu Asab said residents were concerned that their homes might be seized by Israelis, as part of a policy known as "Judaisation"- seeking to erase the Palestinian presence from Jerusalem.
“We have been living here for years, and we will remain steadfast in the house and will not leave it even if it collapses on our heads,” Abu Asab added.