Occupied: Headlines From Palestine

Blogging From Gaza, Palestine


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Terror Attack: Israel Terrorist Yells ‘Death To Arabs’ And Stabs Palestinian Worker

BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — An Israeli man stabbed a Palestinian worker on a construction site north of Tel Aviv on Monday, Israeli police and media reported.The victim, a Palestinian worker for the Herzliya Municipality, told police that a man with a Russian accent shouted “Death to Arabs” before stabbing him in the shoulder.

The worker was transferred to hospital for treatment.

Israeli police are searching for the suspect, who fled the scene of the attack.

Anti-Palestinian attacks in Israel are frequent and often involve the desecration of holy sites in addition to physical assaults.

In February, suspected Jewish extremists set fire to part of a Christian seminary in East Jerusalem’s Old City and sprayed “Jesus is a son of a whore” and “Redemption of Zion” on the walls.

A day earlier, extremist Jewish settlers set fire to a mosque in the southern West Bank town of al-Jaba and sprayed racist slogans calling for killing Arabs and Muslims on the walls in Hebrew.


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Palestinian Woman Injured In Israeli Terrorist Hit And Run In Jerusalem

ERUSALEM, April 12, 2015 (WAFA) – An Israeli settler Sunday ran over a Palestinian female near one of the gates of Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem before fleeing the scene.

An Israeli settler ran over a Palestinian female, whose identity remains unidentified until the moment, while she was standing at the light railway stop located near the Mosque’s Bab al-Amoud gate, also known as Damascus Gate, in East Jerusalem, before fleeing the scene.

She was transferred to a nearby hospital for treatment. Her medical condition remains unknown. Whereas Israel deals with Israeli cars crashing into Palestinian pedestrians as traffic accidents, it considers similar incidents by Palestinians as ‘terrorist attacks’, upon which shooting and killing orders are easily taken, depriving Palestinians of the right to a fair trial.

On October 23, 2014, Israeli police shot and killed a Palestinian after his car hit a group of Israelis standing at a train station in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah; police fired the first bullet, which brought the driver, Abdul-Rahman Shaloudi, 20, to a halt, then fired another bullet after which he fell to the ground.

Another three bullets followed and were shot at Shaloudi even though he was lying on the street, unarmed, injured, and unable to move, leading to his imminent death minutes later.

The incident was declared by the Israeli side as “a terrorist act.”

In contrast, on October 19, an Israeli settler deliberately ran over two Palestinian kindergarten girls near Ramallah, killing one of them and seriously injuring the other, yet there were no reports of any police action against him. The Israeli side dealt with the incident ‘an unintentional’.

On October 29, the Palestinian foreign ministry issued a statement denouncing Israel’s discriminatory treatment of Palestinians and Israelis, stressing that Israel follows an obvious discrimination policy in handling incidents committed by Israelis.

Israel declares such incidents, when committed by Palestinians, as ‘terror acts’ without concluding proper investigations and most of the time shooting the person behind the incident at the spot, depriving him the right to defense in a court of law.

T.R/M.H


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Palestinians In Scotland Condemn School Materials Labeling Them “Terrorists”

PNN/ Glasgow/

The Association of Palestinian Communities in Scotland today condemned inflammatory teaching materials given to young children in a North Lanarkshire school which seeks to demonise Palestinians.

Children as young as 11 at New Stevenson Primary school, were given homework which described Palestine as Israel, and labelled all Palestinians seeking to end the occupation as “separatist terrorists”.

Pupils were asked if “Palestinians feel they have the RIGHT to use terrorism against the Israeli.”

Dr Essam Hijjawi, chair of the Association of Palestinian Communities in Scotland commented:

“The “Separatists” case study given to children as homework demonstrates a fundamentally flawed reading of history and geography, flying in the face of countless UN resolutions and shows an ignorance which beggars belief. No one other than the State of Israel regards the Occupied Palestinian Territories as forming part of Israel, and no one regards the struggle of the Palestinian people as a separatist struggle. The United Nations consistently supports the right of the Palestinian people to self determination and governments across the world including the UK and Scottish governments call for the end to the occupation. In July and August of last year, more than 500 Palestinian children were killed by the Israeli Occupation Forces and schools were razed to the ground by bombing raids and missile attacks. Unlike the children of Israeli settlers, Palestinian children are subject to military law. This means they can be detained without the knowledge of their parents, detained and held in adult prisons without charge and appear before military courts. Children in North Lanarkshire should be not be taught to demonise Palestinians, they should be learning how children of the same age are beaten and shot by Israeli soldiers. We are calling for the immediate withdrawal of all such materials from Scottish schools, a public apology to the Palestinian community in Scotland and a meeting with education department officials in North Lanarkshire with the leader of the council and Scotland’s Minister for Education. We ask that all materials used in schools relating to the teaching of the history of Palestine is discussed between Education Scotland and the Palestinian community. At a time when Muslims are being demonised for the actions of a tiny minority, our children need to gain a proper understanding of the occupation of Palestine and learn compassion and not fear and hatred.”


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Headlines From Palestine: November 24, 2014


Gaza

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Israeli Occupation Forces Shoot, Kill Palestinian Man In Northern Gaza

A Palestinian man was shot dead by Israeli troops in the northern Gaza Strip on Sunday, medical sources and witnesses said.

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Palestinian Teen Seriously Injured, 2 Illegally Arrested At Gaza Border

A Palestinian teenager was seriously injured and two others were arrested by Israeli forces near the Kerem Shalom crossing in the Gaza Strip.

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Israeli Terrorist Attacks

 

Israeli Terrorists Assault Palestinian Workers in Jerusalem, Israeli Occupation Turn Blind Eye to the Attack

Israeli settlers on Sunday attacked a number of Palestinian workers in a vegetable market in West Jerusalem, while Israeli police turned a blind eye to the attack, according to witnesses.

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Israeli Terrorist Breaks Into Silwan Home, Pepper Sprays Palestinian Woman

An Israeli woman broke into a Palestinian home in the Silwan neighborhood of East Jerusalem on Sunday and attacked a Palestinian woman with pepper spray while she was sleeping, family told Ma’an.

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Palestinian Youth Attacked By Terrorist Israelis

Israeli police say three young Israelis have attacked a Palestinian youth in Jerusalem.

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 Israeli Terrorists Attack Palestinian Taxi Driver

A Palestinian taxi driver from Kafr Qasim city near Tal Aviv in central Israel says he was attacked by 17 Israelis in the ultra-Orthodox neighborhood of Bnei Brak after two of them claimed he tried to run them over.

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Israeli Terrorist Settlers Attack Palestinian Herders Near Nablus

Israeli settlers on Sunday assaulted three Palestinian herders while they were grazing their sheep  near Nablus, according to local sources.


 

Israeli Occupation Soldiers Shoot, Injure Journalist In Hebron

Israeli soldiers on Sunday shot and injured a Palestinian journalist with a rubber-coated bullet in Hebron, in the southern West Bank, while he was covering a peaceful demonstration by Palestinian locals, according to local sources.

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Palestinian Herder Killed By Israeli Occupation Ordnance

A Palestinian died on Sunday of injuries sustained after a ordnance left by Israeli army exploded in Bardala village in the Jordan Valley.

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 West Bank and Occupied Lands

 

nadeem

Israeli Occupation Policeman Charged With Manslaughter Of Palestinian Teen Nadeem Nuwarah

A Jerusalem court on Sunday charged an Israeli border policeman with manslaughter in the May shooting to death of a young Palestinian during a West Bank demonstration.

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By Operation Dove

By Operation Dove

Israeli Occupation Seize Tractor,Truck and 4 Water Tanks From Palestinian Village

On November 20th, the Israeli forces seized a tractor, its truck, four water tanks and three tanks’ bases from the Palestinian village of Susiya.

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A Bedouin of the Jahalin tribe walks in his encampment near the Jewish settlement of Maale Adumim, east of Jerusalem, June 16, 2012. Photo by Reuters

A Bedouin of the Jahalin tribe walks in his encampment near the Jewish settlement of Maale Adumim, east of Jerusalem, June 16, 2012. Photo by Reuters

Palestinian Bedouin Community Battles Eviction (Ethnic Cleansing)By Israeli Occupation

After living under decades of Israeli occupation, Palestinian Bedouins now face an Israeli plan for their forced displacement to urban areas, which, they say, do not suit their nomadic lifestyle.

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Ma'an Images

Ma’an Images

Palestinian Pathologist Refuses To Be Questioned By Israeli Occupation Police

The director of Al-Quds University’s Institute of Forensic Medicine on Sunday refused to go to Israel’s Russian Compound interrogation center in Jerusalem for questioning.

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Druze Israeli Occupation Soldier Denied Entry To Northern Israeli Pub

Ran Abu Dolah fought during Operation Protective Edge and injured by an anti-tank missile but was not allowed entry to a pub in northern Israel over the weekend because he is not Jewish, ‘Apparently, they are good enough to fight in Gaza but not to enter a pub,’ says a friend of Dolah.

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 Political Prisoners

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Israeli Occupation Arrests 11 Palestinians in Jerusalem, West Bank

At least 11 Palestinians Monday were arrested during predawn raids by the Israeli police and army in occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank, according to local and security sources.

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Politics

Israel Warns France Ahead Of Palestinian Vote

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday that a French recognition of the Palestinian State would be an “irresponsible” move, the Israel-based news website I24News reported.

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FM: PLO Postpones UN Resolution On Occupation

The PLO has postponed submitting a draft resolution to the UN Security Council demanding the end of Israel’s occupation, having already passed several target dates for the procedure over the past two months.

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 Israeli Occupation Cabinet Approves ‘Jewish State’ Bill

The Israeli cabinet on Sunday approved a controversial bill defining Israel as a Jewish state.

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Israeli Occupation Navy Sinks Palestinian Fishing Boat Off Gaza Coast

GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Israeli naval boats on Wednesday evening fired at and sank a Palestinian fishing boat in the sea off the coast of Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip.

Witnesses said that army boats fired shells at a boat belonging to the al-Bardaweel family, completely destroying it in the process.

People aboard the boat had jumped in the water by the time the shells hit, and as a result no injuries were reported.

An Israeli military spokeswoman did not immediately return calls seeking comment. An Israeli army radio report, however, appeared to confirm the incident, adding that the fishermen had strayed more than six nautical miles from the shore.

Since the signing of a ceasefire agreement that ended 50 days of fighting between Israeli forces and Palestinian militants in Gaza on Aug. 26, the Israeli navy has fired at Gaza fishermen more than a dozen times under the pretext that they had surpassed fishing zone limits.

The Aug. 26 agreement stipulated that Israel would immediately expand the fishing zone off Gaza’s coast, allowing fishermen to sail as far as six nautical miles from shore, and would continue to expand the area gradually.

The fisherman who have been shot at, and even at times detained by Israeli forces, have insisted that they were well within the six-mile limit.

Prior to the recent agreement, Israeli forces maintained a limit of three nautical miles on all Gaza fishermen, opening fire at fishermen who strayed further, despite earlier agreements which had settled on a 20-mile limit.

There are 4,000 fishermen in Gaza. According to a 2011 report by the International Committee of the Red Cross, 90 percent are poor, an increase of 40 percent from 2008 and a direct result of Israeli limits on the fishing industry.

The Israeli blockade in place since 2006 has severely limited the imports and exports of the Gaza Strip — include materials necessary for building fishing boats — and has led to frequent humanitarian crises and hardship for Gazans.


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Israeli Terrorist Settlers Torch 100 Olive Trees Near Nablus

NABLUS, October 22, 2014 (WAFA) – Israeli settlers Wednesday torched about a hundred olive trees in the town of Huwwara to the south of Nablus, according to a local activist.

A number of settlers from the illegal Israeli settlement of ‘Yitzhar’ set fire to around 100 olive trees belonging to the Khamoos and Salim families, said Ghassan Douglas who is in charge of settlements file at the Palestinian Authority in the northern part of the West Bank.

Confrontations erupted between settlers and the land owners who were harvesting their olive trees at the time, yet no injuries were reported.

Settlers target Palestinians each year during the olive harvesting season, either by destroying their trees, attacking Palestinians or by preventing them from accessing their land.

T.R/M.H


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Israeli Occupation Responsible for Terrorist Settlers’ Assaults, Says Palestine UN Mission

NEW YORK, October 21, 2014 (WAFA) – The Permanent Mission of Palestine to the United Nations Monday said the Israeli Government is responsible for all the crimes committed by the settlers in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem.

 

The statement came as the head of the mission, Riyad Mansour, sent identical letters to the Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon, the President of the Security Council and the President of the General Assembly on Israeli Settlers terrorism against Palestinian people.

 

“On a nearly daily basis, Israeli settlers continue with their terror rampages, persisting with attacks on Palestinian civilians, destruction of properties, and theft of land and natural resources,” said Mansour, referring to the deliberate killing of 4-year-old Inas Dar Khalil, a Palestinian kindergarten girl who was killed on Saturday after an Israel settler ran over her with his car near Ramallah.

 

“It should also be mentioned, that this so-called “hit and run” accident has become a reoccurring deadly practice by Israeli settlers against the Palestinian civilian population,” remarked Mansour. In his letter, Mansour addressed similar “hit-and-run” incidents carried out by Israeli settlers against Palestinian civilians.

 

The top-ranking Palestinian diplomat made reference to the continuing Israeli incitement and provocative actions against holy sites in Occupied East Jerusalem, the latest of which a few days ago when confrontations erupted following a provocative visit by the Deputy Speaker of the Israeli Knesset, Moshe Feiglin. Several cases of suffocation were reported during the incident.

 

Mansour called upon Israel to “hold the perpetrators of such crimes accountable and to act to avert the continuation of these criminal, provocative attacks, which are aggravating tension and religious sensitivities between the two sides, further stoking anger and rage and deepening mistrust.”

 

M.N/M.H


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Armed Israeli Terrorists Attack Jerusalem Home Celebrating Hajj Return

JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — Armed Jewish settlers on Thursday attacked a Palestinian home in the al-Suwanna neighborhood on the Mount of Olives east of the Old City of Jerusalem, removing banners celebrating the return of a family member from the Hajj pilgrimage.Witnesses said settlers from the nearby Beit Orot settlement carrying automatic weapons approached the house on Thursday and tore down Islamic banners that the members of the al-Qadamani family had previously hung up.The witnesses added that the assailants gave the banners to a dog that accompanied them on the raid.The family had decorated the exterior of their house with banners reading the traditional Islamic inscription “There is no God but God, and Mohammad is his prophet” in order to welcome home their son, who had returned from pilgrimage in Mecca.


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Terror Tunnels: Israel’s Very Own Tunnels of Dread in Jerusalem

While everyone is preoccupied with the Hamas tunnels in Gaza, Israel continues to dig under Palestinian houses in Jerusalem. The excuses are questionable, residents are angry and fearful, and a religious conflagration appears imminent.

By Orly Noy

With the Hamas tunnels dominating the Israeli narrative for the past several weeks, their inherent danger horrifying the entire state and sometimes leading to apocalyptic visions, the state of Israel persistently continued digging its own underground tunnels – in Jerusalem.

These tunnels, like those of Hamas, are being dug under a heavy cloak of secrecy. As with the Hamas tunnels, they serve as a tool for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. They are also being dug under the houses of uninvolved civilians, in this case Palestinians. However, while the Hamas tunnels are described as serving terrorist purposes, these tunnels have been authorized by the Supreme Court of Israel, and all the relevant arms of the state have been mobilized in their support.

What follows is a conversation with archaeologist Yonatan Mizrahi from Emek Shaveh, an organization that focuses on the role of archaeology in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, about what is going on underground in one of the world’s most volatile places, the historical heart of Jerusalem.

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Bags of cement at the entrance to the tunnel on the main street of Silwan. (photo: Emek Shaveh)

Is it correct to say that these underground excavations in Jerusalem, especially in the area of the Historic Basin, are not a new development?

Yes, that is correct. At the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th centrury underground tunnels were dug as part of archaeological excavations. It was a method of excavation, for various reasons. Toward the beginning of the 20th century it became clear that this practice was very problematic as a research tool, and starting in the second decade of the 20th century the Silwan excavations reverted to an orderly method, from the top down, exposing strata, as we all know. Since that time archaeologists have no longer dug tunnels; it is no longer part of the modus operandi.

When was the digging of tunnels resumed?

After the state of Israel conquered the Old City of Jerusalem it introduced many changes, and in 1969 the Ministry of Religious Services began to carry out the excavations we know today as the tunnels of the Western Wall. The Department of Antiquities, what was previously the Antiquities Authority, was not really involved in these excavations. This was the situation at least until the year 2000. So begins the story of the tunnels of the Western Wall, which, with due respect, may perhaps begin at the Western Wall but they reach all the way to the Via Dolorosa, in the heart of the Muslim Quarter. These excavations are still going on. Then in 2005 the Antiquities Authority entered the picture as the body that effectively carries out the excavations. The Antiquities Authority also became involved in the excavations in Silwan starting in 2004. These excavations begin at the Pool of Siloam and ascend all the way to the Givati Parking Lot.

For a long time these excavations were conducted rather secretly, without revealing what was being excavated and where, and what the full plan was.

Correct. For years these excavations were conducted in secret, and there was a famous story of Yossi Beilin requesting to visit the site as a Knesset member and being told, “Definitely not, this is a private area.” Residents from the area tried to enter and were also refused.

What is being dug at present, as far as we can tell?

There is digging all the time. There are excavations carried out by the Elad foundation from the Pool of Siloam to Givati Parking Lot, and actually all the way to the Mughrabi Bridge. It is a never-ending project. The digging goes on all the time, in an attempt to enlarge the underground space.

And is this entire operation is supposed to come together at some point?

As we understand it, that’s the intention. See, they have already succeeded in connecting the excavations from Silwan to the Mughrabi Bridge. Essentially, only the space of the Western Wall Plaza has not been connected.

Can you explain who initiates such an excavation, who approves it and who carries it out?

Whoever attempts to initiate such a project, while appealing for a permit from the Antiquities Authority, is an entrepreneurial body that has an interest in the area. In the case of the tunnels, this is in fact the Elad foundation, which manages the City of David and the West Wall tunnels. Extending to the north is a project of the Western Wall Heritage Fund. These are two of the central bodies involved in excavations today.

The Antiquities Authority is a statutory entity, correct?

Absolutely, a statutory professional entity – or so it would seem. So, the Elad foundation appeals to the Antiquities Authority, and it decides to approve the excavations, which are, of course, financed by Elad. It’s a sort of contracting agreement. On the one hand, the Antiquities Authority has the power to decide whether to consent to Elad’s request but on the other hand, it is sort of held hostage by Elad, which provides the money. When the Antiquities Authority became involved in these excavations in 2004, in my understanding, it gave up its professional role, or it became almost irrelevant.

Professionally, the Antiquities Authority, which is familiar with the matter at hand, should not have approved these excavations at all. It should have opposed the digging of tunnels because this is no longer an acceptable archaeological practice, and has not been for a long time. That is to say, the Antiquities Authority relaxed its professional standards for the benefit of Elad, or the benefit of the of the State of Israel.

But the claim is that significant archaeological findings have been uncovered with the tunnels…

Well, I would like to tell you some things related to the Hamas tunnels. I think that the tunnels that the state of Israel is digging are much more sophisticated, in the sense that we have a ‘right’ to this place. We do not just dig to undermine political stability and possibly harm the other side; we dig based on our historical rights, respect for heritage, our interests, all these ‘enlightened arguments in the name of science!

On the professional level, it is true that anytime you dig you find something. They revealed an ancient water tunnel, a section of a street and other such remains, certainly in the Western Wall Plaza. This is unquestionably an experience for the tourists, but on the level of archaeological research, the information that can be obtained from these excavations is almost worthless.

This is an important point: Archaeologists have stopped digging tunnels because they understand that this technique does not help in understanding the development of the strata, the context of what one sees – what came before what, what was built over what, what are the connections between them. Actually, in many cases it makes understanding our finds more difficult.

An ancient sewer in Silwan (photo: Emek Shaveh)

Does that mean that any finds that don’t fit the narrative that the excavations were designed to serve are then suppressed?

There are a few problems here. First, there have been almost no proper scientific publications on these excavations, despite this being a basic condition for the approval of an excavation. Often there are popular, unsatisfactory publications, and we rely mainly on these, although it is difficult to challenge them. And whatever the excavators say becomes a kind of narrative.

The digging of the Western Wall tunnels is an excellent example: Most of these excavations are below strata that are entirely Muslim, under Mamluk structures from the 14th and 15th centuries, and no one denies this. The question is what is presented and emphasized. Do you emphasize that big stone and its connection to the temple, or the multi-cultural complexity of the place? In general, I believe that there is more that is surreptitious than overt about these excavation activities, and I doubt that we’ll ever know.

The problematic professional aspect is one problem. Another much more worrying problem is the story of the Palestinian residents whose land is being excavated. The Palestinians have been protesting this for years and the state has dismissed their claims.

Yes, this is indeed the most amazing story. Actually, there are two aspects: One, the very fact of digging under the houses of residents – which brings me back to the story of the Jewish settlements around Gaza – and then there is also the political aspect, which is much more dangerous than the story of the Hamas tunnels, without belittling the fear of the residents [in Gaza border communities].

The inhabitants of Silwan live in a village where Israeli settler activity has been ongoing for 20 years, and then one day they discovered that there had been digging going on underneath them. They always knew they were being “dug under” in the metaphorical sense, and one day they discovered it was physical, too. And so, they say the most humane thing possible, something that Israelis today can perhaps empathize with more: “We are afraid. Someone is digging under our house, we do not know who is digging, how much, how deep, how this threatens the house, what will happen tomorrow.” They know nothing. They also do not know if tomorrow a settler will emerge from under their house and say, “This room is mine.”

This is valid, given the way the Abbasi family house was taken over. There they rappelled on ropes into the house from the roof.

Correct. It has to be understood – something that Israeli society finds hard to believe – that the settlers reach these houses in many ways. There is a lot of fear, but there is the law as well, and the law grants property rights, which include of course the area under the house.

So they appeal to the Supreme Court, and the arguments of the court’s ruling against them are rather astonishing.

What is astonishing is the way in which the Supreme Court says, in effect, “First, we do not know at all that this land actually belongs to you. Even if it were so, we rely on the engineers of the other party.” Perhaps the inhabitants of the settlements neighboring Gaza can likewise rely on the engineers of Hamas. After all, we call them all “engineers.”

Another astonishing argument of the Supreme Court is that we are talking here about tunnels that are supposed to uncover the history of the Jewish people, and therefore it is justified. In effect, the court says that our need to connect to our roots is more important than all the rights of the people living here. The Supreme Court effectively issues a permit to use archaeology to take control of the area.

So the Palestinian residents are completely transparent to the Israeli establishment. How about the other players in this sensitive area? Was there any coordination with the Jerusalem Waqf [an Islamic trust]?

Israel does not coordinate with anyone; moreover, it carries out most of its archaeological projects in the dark. We had to resort to an appeal based on freedom of information in order to obtain, for example, the routing of the tunnel in Silwan. The Antiquities Authority, which is aware of the political sensitivity of the area, does not share this information with the public.

What is your understanding of the ultimate purpose of this entire project?

I think the ultimate goal of these tunnels is to create an Israeli-Jewish Jerusalem. This is how I understand the excavations: digging under reality, strengthening the national narrative. They understand that the tunnels are a central tool to prevent a political solution in the area of the Historic Basin. For the Elad association, Silwan is the City of David; this is what it has come to do and this is what it is doing, above ground and underground.

Awnings erected over the archaeological excavations adjacent to the Mughrabi Bridge (photo: Emek Shaveh)

The project of Jewish settlement in Silwan has ultimately not been a resounding success from Elad’s point of view; settlers did not swarm to the area. So, they found a more sophisticated way to color the village in blue and white.

Right. They wanted to advance construction in Silwan, but the Antiquities Authority prevented them from doing so, claiming that one could not build in an archaeological site. This was in the 1990s. Overtime the policy changed. So, when the Elad association understood that it couldn’t have massive construction here, it joined the Antiquities Authority with the aim of reaching an Israeli consensus through archaeology and the history of the Israeli people.

How do you view the potential of conflagration due to these excavations under such a brittle reality?

If we take a look at the activity around the Temple Mount, we see that Israel has actually succeeded in blocking the Temple Mount on the western and partially on the northern side through the tunnels. On the southern side it is all excavations, of course.

If I am a Muslim who sees this map, I freak out. It is terribly close to the Temple Mount.

Exactly. It is meters, less than meters. The state of Israel has excavated the entire area adjacent to the Temple Mount. It’s terribly difficult to say what is volatile and what is not here, there are lots of things happening, including inside the Temple Mount compound itself and around it, for example the recent renovation of the Mughrabi Bridge, etc. On the other hand we know that the situation in East Jerusalem has been volatile for a long time, and there are confrontations all the time. On the face of it, these tunnels are, in my view, a basis of existential danger and it is not possible to know when this will erupt and how high the flames will reach.

This national struggle is becoming more and more of a religious struggle. History shows that when the tunnels were opened in 1996 riots indeed broke out, and history also shows that the Second Intifada started in this place. This is, without a doubt, volatile material for the future of the region.

The tunnels that Israel is digging under the Old City and under Silwan are, in my view, more dangerous than the [Hamas] tunnels in the south. We all have to demand that as a first step Israel ceases digging these tunnels. If everyone is talking of quiet and fear of tunnels, then we should view it in the same context, understand how dangerous they are and demand an end to the digging. This could introduce some kind of quiet, although seemingly this story is different from that of Gaza. But despite this, quiet can start here.