The spokesperson of the Islamic Movement in Jerusalem, Mohammed Hamada, condemned the Israeli occupation forces’ attack on the worshippers in the al-Bustan neighborhood of Silwan in occupied East Jerusalem on Friday.
In a statement, Mohammed Hamada said that the Israeli forces used tear gas, stun grenades and rubber bullets to disperse the worshippers who performed the Friday prayer in solidarity with the residents of al-Bustan, who are facing imminent demolition of their homes by the occupation authorities.
He added that the Israeli attack was a “barbaric and savage aggression” that aimed to intimidate and terrorize the Palestinians and prevent them from defending their land and holy sites.
He stressed that the Palestinian people would not be broken by such attacks and would continue to resist the occupation and its plans to Judaize Jerusalem and expel its indigenous inhabitants.
He called on the Arab and Islamic nations and the international community to intervene urgently to stop the Israeli violations and crimes against the Palestinians in Jerusalem and other occupied territories.
Al-Bustan is a neighborhood located to the south of Wadi Hilweh in the Silwan area of East Jerusalem, and currently consists of more than 100 Palestinian homes.
The area is the subject of a controversial proposed Israeli development project that envisions demolishing the existing Palestinian houses and creating a national park, while constructing new four-story apartment buildings around it into which the current residents would be relocated. The project is part of Israel’s efforts to change the demographic and cultural character of Jerusalem and erase its Palestinian identity.
The Palestinian residents of al-Bustan have been living under constant threat of demolition since 2004, when they received orders to remove their “unlawful construction” from the Jerusalem municipality. The residents have filed several alternative plans to legalize their homes, but they were all rejected by the Israeli authorities.
As of 2014, approximately 1,000 people lived in this neighborhood, with its residents lacking official recognition and left contending with demolition orders by local authorities and unable to extend homes, lay infrastructure or build public facilities. According to Haaretz, “No one in the neighborhood denies that the homes were built illegally”, but residents assert that they were forced to build illegally on the open land because the city refused to give building permits.
On Tuesday, June 29, 2021, Israeli occupation forces demolished a Palestinian butcher’s shop in al-Bustan, sparking clashes with local residents. The demolition was seen as a prelude to further demolitions in the area, as the Israeli occupation has issued more than 100 demolition orders against Palestinian homes in al-Bustan.