Palestine: Israeli settlers seize 3 Palestinian buildings in E Jerusalem
JERUSALEM (AA): In a pre-dawn raid, more than 100 Israeli settlers protected by police Thursday seized control of three Palestinian-owned buildings and a piece of land in occupied East Jerusalem.
The settlers immediately raised Israeli flags on the seized properties in the middle of the crowded Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan, south of Jerusalem’s flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque.
Local sources told Anadolu Agency that the Jewish Ateret Cohanim organization was behind the seizure of the properties in occupied Jerusalem.
Extremist Jewish groups such as Ateret Cohanim and Elad are active in seizing control of Palestinian properties in occupied Jerusalem with the aim of establishing a Jewish majority in Jerusalem’s neighborhoods, including the Old City.
The Jerusalem-based Wadi Hilweh Information Center said in a statement that around 100 Israeli settlers accompanied by Israeli police raided Silwan at 2.00 a.m. (Wednesday 2300GMT) and seized control of the buildings and land while the owners were absent.
The family owners have yet to comment on the settlers’ seizure of their properties.
The center said in recent years seized properties in Silwan were made into 12 properties forming settlement outposts in the Palestinian-majority neighborhood.
International law views both the West Bank and East Jerusalem as occupied territories and considers all Israeli settlement-building activity there illegal.
*Ahmed Asmar contributed to this report from Ankara
[Photo: Silwan, View from the City of David, Jerusalem. Photographer: Deror_avi /Creative Commons]
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