Settlers Seize More Palestinian Homes

Settlers Seize More Palestinian HomesSettlers Seize More Palestinian Homes

Israeli settlers moved into 10 new homes in the occupied east Beit ul-Muqaddas (Jerusalem) on Monday, activists said, in spite of fierce local opposition and international condemnation of such takeovers.

According to Jawad Siyyam, a Palestinian activist who heads the Silwan Community Centre, a group of Jewish settlers moved into two buildings in the neighborhood.

Silwan is a densely populated Palestinian neighborhood which flanks the southern walls of Jerusalem’s Old City and has been the scene of frequent clashes involving hardcore settlers, the Israeli police and young, stone-throwing locals, the AFP reported.

Clashes erupted three weeks ago when settlers forcefully took over 25 apartments in the area.

Israel recently approved the construction of more than 2,600 settler homes in east Beit ul-Muqaddas, prompting Washington -- Israel’s closest and most powerful ally -- to express its “deep concern” over the plans.

Israeli nationalist groups, who say they aim to increase the presence of Jews in Palestinian neighborhoods in east Beit ul-Muqaddas, confirmed to AFP they had “facilitated and directed two new (building) acquisitions” in Silwan on Monday.

Siyyam said there were now around 500 settlers living in 90 buildings in the neighborhood.

Israel’s settlement building in the occupied West Bank and east Beit ul-Muqaddas, which is illegal under international law, has caused the breakdown of multiple rounds of talks between Israel and the Palestinian Unity Government.

Some 200,000 settlers live in east Beit ul-Muqaddas neighborhoods, as well as around 290,000 Palestinians