Saturday, December 15, 2018

“City of David” national park in East Jerusalem set to house more settlers


By Naomi Kundera - July 12, 2018
TAGS:
Section: [Main News]
Tags: [Silwan] [Jerusalem] [settlement construction]

The Israeli parliament pushed forward a bill last week, July 4, that will allow settlement construction in the “City of David” national park in Silwan, East Jerusalem.

The bill, which was advanced with an 8-6 vote, will “enable housing” in areas dedicated to the national park and is within municipality borders, Haaretz reported.
 
Only three votes are needed by the Knesset plenum for the bill to be officially passed.
 
Knesset Member (MK) of the Likud party and Chairman of the Knesset Internal Affairs Committee, Yoav Kisch, promoted the bill in cooperation with the City of David Foundation.
 
Both Kisch and the City of David Foundation cite historical preservation and archaeological value of the area as a necessity for settlement expansion.
 
The “City of David” is believed to be the areas where Jerusalem stood during the reigns of King David and Solomon over 3000 years ago - a key argument used to justify Zionism.
 
Also known as Elad, the City of David Foundation is a right-wing non-profit organization that claims to be “dedicated to the preservation and development of the Biblical City of David and its environs,” according to the group’s website.
 
The group is, however, notorious for its aggressive expansion of Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem, especially in the Silwan area.
 
In May of this year Elad organized the forceful removal of three Palestinian families from their homes in Silwan to make room for new settlers.
 
Peace Now reported 10 additional properties that Elad has managed to seize over the last two years in a continued attempt by the settler group to turn Silwan into a Jewish neighborhood.
 
It is claimed that the Elad-run national park is the only area that meets the construction criteria of the proposed bill.
 
However, the purpose of this bill is to promote construction by and for Elad and its settlers, which was apparently made clear in the last committee meeting held in January of this year with Elad’s founder David Beeri.
 
Ir Amim, a left-wing Israeli activist group, and Emek Shaveh, an Israeli NGO that works to preserve historical integrity of archaeological sites, both oppose settlement expansion in the national park.
 
According to these groups, Elad has been working on this project since the 1990s, but the over-zealous construction plan was tabled due to strong civil opposition.
 

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