Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Child Arrests and Illegal Settlement Expansion in Silwan

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Child Arrests and Illegal Settlement Expansion in Silwan

Article excerpt

Sahar Abbasi Baidon, deputy director of the Madaa Creative Center in Arab East Jerusalem's Silwan neighborhood, spoke on Oct. 27 to students in instructor Kinneret Israel's "Demystifying the Middle East" class at City College of San Francisco. The Palestinian mother of four was on a multi-city speaking tour sponsored by the Berkeley-based Middle East Children's Alliance to bring attention to Madaa's efforts to help the children of Silwan, who suffer daily under illegal Israeli occupation, increased illegal settlement expansion and violence.

The center provides the community's children and youth with recreational activities, including art, theater, music, dancing, sports and language classes, along with occupational therapy (see October 2012 Washington Report, p. 46). Much-needed psychological counseling is also provided to help counter the effects of daily harassment and attacks on the children by Israeli settlers and arrests by the police and military.

Some 60,000 Palestinians live in Silwan, a neighborhood directly opposite the Old City walls which has been illegally occupied by Israel since 1967. For the past 20 years, Baidon said, the extremist settler organization El'ad has been moving Israeli settlers into Silwan. Some 700 Israelis now live in settlements there that are illegal under the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, which bars occupying powers from moving their citizens to occupied land. To further its agenda of creating a Jewish majority in Palestinian areas, El'ad has displaced many residents of Silwan by conducting a series of Israeli government-condoned archaeological digs to develop the so-called "City of David National Park" (see December 2009 Washington Report, p. 16).

Ateret Cohanim, a group dedicated to creating a Jewish majority in Jerusalem's Old City and East Jerusalem, is seizing 5,200 square meters in Silwan's Batan al-Hawa neighborhood, where an estimated 80 Palestinian families live, Baidon explained. …

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