Activists start sit-in against possible Silwan evacuation

“The residents here are under a lot of pressure and it’s stressing everyone out,” Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity Movement spokesman says.

By MELANIE LIDMAN
December 27, 2010 02:23
1 minute read.
Activists and Silwan residents warm up by a fire.

activists in silwan_311. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)

 
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Left-wing activists initiated a round-the-clock sit-in at the building occupied by the Abu Naeb family in Silwan after news of a possible evacuation spread on Sunday morning.

By evening, after it was clear that the evacuation was not happening for the time being, 10 activists were joined by dozens of young locals for an outdoor gathering that took on the air of a festive street party.

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“The residents here are under a lot of pressure,” said Assaf Sharon, spokesman for the Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity Movement, who had been in Silwan with activists since 8 a.m. There is heavy deployment of soldiers everywhere, “and it’s stressing everyone out,” he said.

A dozen members of Yasam, the police’s special riot control unit, were at almost every intersection in the busiest area of Silwan, near Beit Yehonatan and the Old Yemenite Synagogue. Many residents said the police presence was much higher than normal.

One boy was arrested after throwing stones at border police patrolling near Honey House, which is located next to the Old Yemenite Synagogue. Stones were also thrown at border policemen next to Beit Yehonatan, and a gasoline bomb was set off near the building. There were no injuries in any of the incidents.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said these were “regular events” and not particularly more significant than those in the past, despite the tensions in the neighborhood.

Since the immediate threat of riots accompanying evacuations of either the Jews in Beit Yehonatan or the Arabs in the Old Yemenite Synagogue had subsided with a compromise between Ateret Cohanim and Mayor Nir Barkat, police will be conducting regular security patrols on Monday, Rosenfeld said.

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