Last night approximately 70 settlers, with police escort, entered the Sarhan House in Silwan. The Sarhan House is a
5-floor building located at the Batan Al-Hawa neighborhood which includes 12 housing units. The house is close to
the Abu Nab House as well as to additional houses under threat of eviction based on
settlers' claims of ownership prior to 1948. (To learn more about the mechanism of settlement in East Jerusalem
neighborhoods click here.) One Palestinian family, whose lease is not up for another few months, is still
residing in one housing unit at the Sarhan house. Today, settlers, escorted by police, came to this family's
house and tried to intimidate it to leave.
The settlers' entry must be understood as a strategic takeover; this is yet another step in a larger attempt to alter the character of the neighborhood and change the status quo in Jerusalem. Even prior to last night's entry, in the past year the settlers managed to double their presence at the Batan Al-Hawa neighborhood. After last night's entry, the settlement has expanded from approximately 10 families residing in two houses to approximately 35 families residing in six houses.
Last night's entry is not merely a private act as it was aided by law enforcing authorities. The government has decided in the past not to allow the settlement inside Palestinian neighborhoods and it can do so again. In the meantime, its actions are supporting the dangerous expansion of the settlement in Silwan.
To watch a video of the entry click here.
The Sarhan House in Batan Al-Hawa, Silwan.