‘Settlers say that they bought the house, but they haven’t shown us any documents,’ says one Palestinian woman whose home settlers took over Tuesday morning. ‘Now they’re sleeping in my bed; all of our clothes and furniture is still inside.’
By Orly Noy
Israeli settlers took over seven homes in the Silwan neighborhood of East Jerusalem Tuesday morning, primarily in Wadi Hilwe, the neighborhood’s main thoroughfare. According to residents, the settlers arrived at around 2 a.m., escorted by large numbers of riot police.
“I was still awake, here in the store,” said neighborhood resident Ahmed Qareen, the owner of a small market in Wadi Hilwe. “I saw a large group of settlers and police but I didn’t think that they were going to take more homes. I assumed that it was somehow related to your (Jewish) holidays now, that they were walking around here at such an hour.”
One of the houses that the settlers took over in the dead of night was the Hayat family home. Like many other houses in the neighborhood, the building is split into a number of apartment units, most of which are occupied by family members. Two of them are now occupied by settlers.
In the building’s internal stairwell that connects the apartments, sits Bushra Hayat, whose eyes are dashing back and forth tracking the police officers walking into the apartment that until yesterday was hers. “We have two apartments here, one that my father rents out and we live in the other one. The two apartments were empty yesterday. My father wasn’t here and I slept at my uncle’s house, here, downstairs. They knew ahead of time when the houses would be empty and that’s why they came [now].”
“They know what we are doing at all times,” Ahmed Qareen says with a smile. “Look around: the whole neighborhood is full of their security cameras, some of them are pointed directly into our houses. They know better than us what’s happening here.”Read More