Posted on February 16, 2008, by & filed under News, Protest Actions.

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During the last week, the right-wing association, Elad, and the Police have intensified their operations against the Palestinian citizens of Silwan, located just below the Dung Gate in what is reputed to be the ancient City of David. Local residents who protested against the archaeological excavations conducted under their houses have been detained for interrogations, and the excavations have continued with excessive force, under the supervision and protection of Israeli police.

The Elad association has been working to cleanse the neighborhood of Wadi Hilwe in Silwan from its Palestinian inhabitants for over a decade. The association uses different means for its objectives: buying out houses legally or by forgery and deceit, utilizing a network of collaborators which destroys the community from within, and mainly by using the archaeological excavations and growing tourism as means to oust the local residents.

The state of Israel has given the full responsibility and control over the archaeological sites in Silwan to Elad, which in turn created a method of expelling citizens from their properties, appropriating public areas, enclosing these lands with fences and guards, and banning the entrance of the local residents. Elad monitors and executes aggressive archaeological excavations which are conducted secretly and illicitly, while violating international codes of ethics under the protection of a private security force. Elad has managed to put its foothold in all the authorities and committees that are relevant to its cause – the Jerusalem Municipality and national state committees which include: The Antiquities Authority, The Nature & National Parks Protection Authority, and The Custodian for Absentee Property. Any attempt by the local residents to stand up against Elad, is met by a swift operation of the Israeli police and security services (Shin Bet).

Hundreds of thousands of visitors a year are led through the excavation site in Silwan and are brainwashed with a biased narrative told by Elad, under the charm of the National Parks Authority and The Antiquities Authority. The distortion of facts and the oppression of the local residents must come to light, and especially to those who visit the site.