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Israel to build Jewish tourist center on private Palestinian land
Published Tuesday 18/02/2014 (updated) 20/02/2014 10:34
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JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- Israel plans to build a Jewish tourist center in East Jerusalem on private Palestinian land, a local information center said Tuesday.

Wadi Hilweh Information Center said in a statement that the new center would be built east of the Silwan neighborhood and south of the Al-Aqsa mosque, without specifying when.

The building and the land surrounding it will feature a "museum of Jewish history" and a "Jewish national park," the statement said.

The government-led project is sponsored by the Ir David Foundation, an organization that promotes a Jewish connection to parts of the Silwan neighborhood, including the "City of David" archaeological site.

According to the Information Center, the tourist center will be built on 1,200 square meters of Palestinian land in the al-Ain area.

Municipality crews have already issued notices to seven families in the al-Ain area, informing them that the project will be implemented on their lands, the statement said.

The families were given 60 days to appeal the decision to Israeli courts. All appeals will need to include various legal documents, such as building permits, according to the statement.

Twenty-two houses on five dunams (1.2 acres), holding members of the al-Abbassi, Abu Mayala, Abu Subeih, and Abu Sneineh families, are threatened by the decision.

The Wadi Hilweh Information Center condemned the project, saying it threatened "the Arab and Muslim makeup of a neighborhood adjacent to the southern wall of Al-Aqsa."

Lawyer Sami Irsheed, whose privately-owned land could be affected by the project, will appeal on behalf of the residents, the statement said.

According to the UN, 33 percent of all Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem lack Israeli-issued building permits, potentially placing at least 93,100 residents at risk of displacement.

Figures from Israeli NGO Bimkom show that 95 percent of Palestinian applications for a building permit are rejected.

Since 1967, the Israeli authorities have demolished some 2,000 houses in East Jerusalem. Over 1,630 Palestinians were made homeless in house demolitions carried out by Israel between 2004-2012, B'Tselem says.
1 ) Colin Wright / USA
18/02/2014 22:39
Truly revolting. They do make a point of singling out Palestinian land for this sort of thing, too. Witness the 'Museum of Tolerance' -- to be built atop a Muslim Cemetery. They go out of their way to be as provocative as possible. Givat Shaul Beth was planted atop the ruins of Deir Yassin in 1949 -- and it hasn't stopped since.

2 ) Mel / USA
18/02/2014 23:45
"provocative",& INSULTING,as possible!We can't expect any more from Zionism.But we MUST demand more from USG to divest from patroning(with our taxes)this ethnic/cultural erasure of all things non-Jewish from Palestine.As an American Christian,I'm insulted &offended by Zionism's contempt for all others.85 HUMAN families,in Silwan alone,have been driven out of their ancestral homes just for a stupid,political-revisionist theme park. Hey! Just level Auschwitz for a Nazi museum? Same mentality Huh?

3 ) Father Ignatius / Ireland
19/02/2014 00:26
@1: Dear Colin I note your comments, but it would appear you are unable to appreciate that the Dome of the Rock s a shrine located on the Temple Mount and Al-Aqsa Mosque is also on the Temple Mount, the holiest site in Judaism, the place where the Jewish Temple is generally accepted to have stood. Of course there are many abandoned synagogues and churches throughout the Islamic world that were forced to be abandoned that are now mosques and madrassas

4 ) George Henderson / UK
19/02/2014 00:29
@1 I hope and trust you are greatly offended, by the Ir David Foundation.

5 ) Carson / Canada
19/02/2014 00:43
Why is this a problem ?? Jerusalem belongs to Israel and always will. Did you guys forget that Israel annexed E. Jerusalem? Israel can do whatever she wants there, and no one can do ANYTHING about it, specially you Colin ;) Keep Building !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

6 ) Maisie / UK
19/02/2014 00:51
@Colin 1) Of course its revolting. They would be hard pressed to find land that wasn't Palestinian for such deliberate cruelty. The site of the "Museum of Tolerance" (don't they have a gift for the ironic misnomer?) is situated atop a centuries old Muslim cemetery where possibly contemporaries of Saladin are buried. Abbas keeps quiet and the West is concerned.

7 ) Johnny benson / USA
19/02/2014 01:22
Colin...get real..if the power were reversed...the Arabs would kill every jew in Palestine and you know it....the land all belongs to Israel and the Jews....no matter how much you squeal...

8 ) Golden Dome / USA
19/02/2014 04:11
Only anti-Semites would protest the building of a Jewish history center and a park in honor of the greatest Jewish king. You don't want to be an anti-Semite do you?

9 ) ian / australia
19/02/2014 04:16
Land theft appears to be the Israeli state religion. It's the single thing they believe in. The image they find profound and moving above all others is that of Jews RE-claiming the ancient land (see cloying photo of awe-struck soldiers at Western Wall in '67). Even Israelis who on some level know it's wrong, respond with patriotic ardour at the sight because indoctrination (and rationalisation) goes deep. And the corollary is deviousness, i.e. HOW to steal it...in plain sight. The guise of

10 ) ian / australia
19/02/2014 04:17
(contd.) religion works because it comes with inbuilt obfuscation ensuring debates about things like Tombs (Joseph, Rachel, Shimon HaTzadik, Patriarchs) and the "right" of Jews to visit them go on forever. Niftier still is archeology. Under the guise of science and objectivity swathes of Palestine can be commandeered if a dig uncovers a ruin (like the Large Stone Structure) and outrageous claims about it (like it's the biblical Palace of David!) are widely broadcast. The tourist centre,

11 ) ian / australia
19/02/2014 04:17
(contd.) museum and "national park" all quickly follow...involving the theft of more Arab land and the dispossession of more Palestinians. And it's nifty because it brings athiestic Jews on board who can join in the ingenuous cry that it's all too significant to relinquish regardless of WHERE international law says it is and WHO has actual sovereignty over it. I agree with #1. It IS revolting, watching this devious, rapacious, relentless state religion in action.

12 ) E / usa
19/02/2014 05:06
Time to except the fact jerusalem is undivided and is Israelis in its fullest. west and east and doesnt belong to palestinians even an inch. ramallah can be palestinian capital with no problems

13 ) Dima Helou / Palestine
19/02/2014 16:29
this is unbelievable, how would you feel if someone came to your house and said hey i want to build a park here so you should get out of here and find some road to sleep on ! be reasonable, if you are really religious, we were ordered by God to respect our neighbors i don't see that happening, open your eyes people Israel has all the power and we have nothing, i don't mind leaving with them , so let them stop killing us and throwing us out of our land, since when a country is ruled by religion.

14 ) Colin Wright / USA
19/02/2014 20:37
To Johnny Benson #7: 'Colin...get real..if the power were reversed...the Arabs would kill every jew in Palestine and you know it....the land all belongs to Israel and the Jews....' And? How did the Nazi settlers in Poland fare? If the Palestinians kill the invaders, that'll go to show what a bad idea it was to invade. As to your fantasy that 'the land belongs to the Zionists,' that was dispensed with long ago. Please don't recycle any of your discredited lies, either.

15 ) Rachamim Dwek / Israel
20/02/2014 20:50
The properties in question are actually a single parcel that has never been owned by any Arab,now or in the past. The property was bought by the precursor to PIKA in the early-1880s for ?2 million and the original deed is on file in Ankara,Turkey (when PIKA was established in 1924 it assumed title). The land remained undeveloped except for a few squatters and the Ghuzlan Family who were hired as caretakers and allowed to build a small home in lieu of pay.In 1952 Jordan let Arabs live there.

16 ) Concepta Flynn / Ireland
20/02/2014 23:29
@3: Father Ignatius, forgive me as I'm somewhat confused. Colin's point is sensible, as we wouldn't like to disturb the bones of the dead & build a theme park on them would we? Nor for that matter a museum really, because we have to respect the dead (& bury them in consecrated ground). I do take your point about the churches being turned into mosques though, I think that happened in Turkey (in what was then Constantinople). At least the Vatican is in Rome, I think it should be safe there.

17 ) ian / australia
21/02/2014 21:27
I suppose it's gratifying that Carson (#5), Johnny (#7), Golden Dome (#8) and E (#12) all demonstrate my point. Witness the fervour ("Keep Building !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"), the apocalyptic hysteria ("the Arabs would kill every jew in Palestine and you know it...."), the deviousness ("You don't want to be an anti-Semite do you?") and willful ignorance ("Did you guys forget that Israel annexed E. Jerusalem? Israel can do whatever she wants there..."). The annexation of East Jerusalem and the Basic Law:

18 ) ian / australia
21/02/2014 21:28
(contd.) Jerusalem, Capital of Israel (1980) is recognised by NO-ONE, a unanimous UNSC resolution (478) declaring it "null and void". Every legal opinion from Geneva to Richard Falk declares building in occupied territories illegal so Golden Dome's nifty zinger: "Only anti-Semites would protest the building of a Jewish history center...in honor of the greatest Jewish king" is meaningless and ticks all the boxes.

19 ) ian / australia
21/02/2014 21:33
#3 Jesus, Father, if your point is stuff is built on other stuff, it's not worth making. Silwan is a poor Palestinian neighbourhood built up the steep face of the Kidron Valley. It's BEYOND the Green Line. It's OCCUPIED by Israel. Israel can't LEGALLY build in it, evict anyone, demolish anything, settle Jews in it (or soldiers to protect them) and has no authority to grant "permits" for ANYTHING. The bogus Ir David theme park (entirely IN Silwan) is a transparent land grab...a naked incursion

20 ) ian / australia
21/02/2014 21:33
(contd.) under the guise of religion, patriotism and science and the Palestinians of Silwan are the losers. The proposed museum and biblical park is more of the same...incremental theft of Palestinian land. Nibbling away at the edges of Silwan. Relentless criminal dispossession. Crushing Palestinian aspirations and hope. Does the injustice, callousness, criminality, cynicism, greed and general vileness of the Jewish State not get to you...'Father'?

21 ) ian / australia
22/02/2014 02:57
#15 Pretty rich, Rachamim. The entirety of Israel is based on denying the valid legal titles of Arabs to their Ottoman and Mandatory property. You simply stole the country from them and drove them out. Yet you get all persnickety and litigious about this "parcel" of land in Silwan. Titles to property are only valid if the sovereign (or dominant) power recognises them (as Palestinians learnt the hard way in '48 and again in '67). Silwan, by global consensus, is NOT in Israel, and Israel has

22 ) ian / australia
22/02/2014 02:59
(contd.) NO jurisdiction there (which includes PIKA and Elad). And what the Palestinians choose to do with the "City of David", the Gihon Spring, pool of Siloam and the tunnel is THEIR business. (I'd add, one can imagine all to vividly the kind of slick, plastic, ideological theme park the "Garden of the King", or whatever they're calling it, would be. Silwan may be a slum with sub-standard building, sewerage and electrical wiring, but anything's preferable to that. No offense.)

23 ) Gloria / UK
23/02/2014 15:49
Blimey Ian, just go and have a another wank.

24 ) Law / Order
10/04/2014 03:14
Try to build house without building permit in any other wold capitals - Tokyo, Paris, London, New Dely, Riad and see what happened. Jerusalem is no different - the land is very valuable and for any construction you need to have all required documements. Jerusalem city counsel has developments plans for all it's district for next 25-30 years and it can allow everybody to build where he wants and what he wants. That is why residents of every city elect city counsel - to manage city's affaires.
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