NGO: Tourism center part of plan to Judaize Jerusalem
Published Monday 11/06/2012 (updated) 15/06/2012 09:26
A general view of Jerusalem's Silwan neighborhood.(MaanImages/file)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- A plan by Israel's Interior Ministry to build a tourism center in the Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan is part of the government's efforts to Judaize the city, a local NGO said Monday.
Khalil Tufakji from the Arab Studies Society told Ma’an that the tourist center is part of a plan to "brainwash tourists" by only showing them the Israeli narrative of the conflict.
The Israeli Interior Ministry gave initial approval to the tourist center on Monday, and the 9,000-square-meter Kedem Center will contain exhibition areas, an events hall, underground parking and other facilities for tourists, The Jerusalem Post reported.
Silwan -- adjacent to the Old City's Dome of the Rock compound and Western Wall -- is populated by a number of settler homes under heavy Israeli guard, and the site of frequent clashes with forces on arrest raids targeting the Palestinian population.
In late December, Israeli authorities announced the approval of a tourism complex in the neighborhood, sparking outrage among residents who say it will lead to more forced evictions of Palestinian homes and exert Israeli control over the area.
Israel annexed East Jerusalem -- regarded as the capital of a future Palestinian state -- after a 1967 war, a move never recognized by the international community.