Jerusalem/PNN/ By: Madeeha Al-A’raj
The National Bureau for defending land and resisting settlements ( nbprs ) stated in its latest weekly report, that targeting the occupied city of Jerusalem by the Israeli Authorities is not limited to building settlements, expanding and isolating it from their Palestinian surroundings in the West Bank, but they also start a systematic invasion of the city and its neighborhoods, as part of their efforts to Judaize them, the Batn al-Hawa neighborhood in a living example as they filed eviction lawsuits against 81 Palestinian families, who have been living in there for decades.
The Batn al-Hawa does not differ from other neighborhoods, where settlement associations with the support of the Israeli occupation authorities and their judicial system are trying to control more real estate in the Batn al-Hawa neighborhood, which is inhabited by more than 800 people out of about 60,000 Palestinian people, who are living in Silwan.
The people of Batn al-Hawa continue their legal battle against settlement through a petition they filed to the Israeli Central Court in Jerusalem against their forced displacement from their homes and an attempt to seize them in favor of the “Atirat Cohanim settlement Association”, the arm of the Israeli government that seizes the properties of Jerusalemites. The court decided in a session last week decided to postpone the hearing on that.
The people of Batn al-Hawa do not count on the Israeli Court for their fairness in the petition submitted to it, as much as, they rely on gaining more time while awaiting political developments that could provide them with protection from the threat of forced displacement, which threatens 86 families in the neighborhood, comprising about 750 individuals, who live in 15 buildings, and it is well known that Israeli courts at all levels provide a legal cover for organized state violence aimed at achieving an illegal end, which is the forcible removal of a protected population from their homes in an occupied land.
It is known that the Batn al-Hawa neighborhood has been divided into about 50 sections, nine of which were transferred to the “Ateret Cohanim” association, five are inhabited by settlers, and others are inhabited by Palestinians, who are all the time are threatened to be evicted through imposing orders of fines and destruction. So far, the “Ateret Cohanim” association has filed eviction lawsuits against 81 families, and two Palestinian families imposed on them by a municipality. The occupation in Jerusalem has fined them and issued orders to demolish part of their homes under the pretext of entering lands owned by the settlement association.
Within the context, the Israeli High Court gave the attorney general of the Israeli government, Avichai Mandelbit, until the eighth of next June to present his position in the file of evacuating Palestinian families from their homes in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood.
After the Israeli Supreme Court decided to postpone the deliberations on the case to the next month.
Four Palestinian families had submitted a petition to the Israeli Supreme Court against a decision taken by the High and Central Courts to evict them from their homes in favor of settlers.
At the same time, one of the largest Israeli transportation projects in the occupied Jerusalem was revealed to Judaize the city and facilitate the movement of settlers in it including the construction of tunnels under three main junctions, namely the French Hill Junction, the Grave Junction, and Coca-Cola Junction. The project is implemented through the construction of four underground tunnels, two of which are in two directions, each with two lanes, with a length of about 1.5 km. they extend from the Yigal Yadin road junction to Ma’ale Adumim settlement and vice versa. Moreover, Israeli bulldozers are digging two other tunnels near the aforementioned tunnels, each with two lanes in the same direction, with a length of 750 meters, heading to the Psgat Ze’ev settlement and vice versa.
These tunnels also aim at facilitating the movement of traffic to the settlement of Ma’ale Adumim, the Dead Sea and the existing settlements in the area, and facilitating linking the streets with Highway 9 (Wadi Al-Arz). The cost of this project is NIS 1.2 billion, and its implementation is scheduled to be completed at the end of 2023.
On the other hand, the Regional Committee for Planning and Building approved the extension of the so-called Israeli army tunnel from the Damascus Gate area in East Jerusalem to Mandelbom Crossing. According to the plan, a 1.2 km long tunnel will be built starting from the Damascus Gate area and ending in Sderot Bar-Lev and Van Fasan Street in the hotel complex located near the American Colony Hotel in Sheikh Jarrah.
The tunnel opening aims to find an exit for traffic from the Engineering Corps Tunnel and to provide another exit from the hotel area in the northern direction.
The cost of implementation is about NIS 300 million. Planning is underway to expand the eastern tunnels heading to the Bethlehem area, which is about 12 km long, through the construction of a tunnel starting from the Rosemary neighborhood in the Gil settlement, and it reaches the “Eleazar settlement in Gush Etzion.”
The plan includes the construction of two new tunnels alongside the existing tunnels, the construction of a bridge, the addition of two traffic lanes in each direction, and a public transportation path.