An Israeli Council approved on Wednesday the so-called “Kedem – City of David” colonialist project by the settler organization Elad that would be undertaken at the main entrances of the Wadi Hilweh Palestinian neighborhood, in Silwan, occupied East Jerusalem.
The project was approved by the Israeli National Council for Planning and Building, despite many appeals against the move by Palestianians and Israeli rights organizations.
The Silwan-based Wadi Hilweh Information Center (Silwanic) said in a statement that an urgent session was held at the Council’s headquarters on Tuesday in which the locals of Wadi Hilweh attended the session, but had to withdraw after being constantly interrupted whenever they testified about the devastating outcome of such a project occurring on their lands.
According to the Center, the session also lacked an Arabic interpreter.
Lawyer Sami Arshid explained that the District Council rejected on Wednesday night all the appeals and objections submitted against “Kedem” project, and cancelled the decision of the Appeals Commission in the Supreme Planning Council which canceled the project, and made the District Committee’s decision of approving the project in 2014 effective.
Arshid also confirmed he will submit an appeal to the Israeli courts to request the cancellation of the District Council’s decision and adopt the Appeals Commission’s decision.
According to the plan of Elad settlement organization, the project aims at building a tourist building of 5 floors (9000 square meters) to be used by the scientists and Israeli Antiquities Department in addition to building conference rooms and educations rooms as well as parking lots for settlers and tourists.
The building will also include commercial stores and offices for Elad organization.
The Wadi Hilweh Information Center and Committee in a official statement, called upon UNESCO to immediately intervene as the project endangers a historical city.
They also appealed for the international community to support the locals of Silwan and prevent this project from being implemented.
The Committee added that the settlement project will be established on the lands of the residents of Silwan which were used as farms until Jerusalem was occupied in 1967.
After the occupation, the Israeli authorities confiscated the lands and demolished two rooms that were owned by Abdo family and then turned it into a parking lot.
In 2003, Elad settlement organization took control of the lands and started planning for the implementation of the settlement project.
The group has since excavated the land, reportedly demolishing an Islamic cemetery 1,200 years old, as well as Ottoman, Umayyad, Byzantine and Roman ruins.
It was reported that they only preserved ruins they believed to be part of Jerusalem’s Second Temple, while disregarding ruins from other historical periods.