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Update from Silwan: Two arrests in one day

On Wednesday two leading Palestinian activists from Silwan were arrested in separate incidents. Adnan Gheith, who is to start “serving” his four-month expulsion order from Jerusalem next week, and Jawad Siyam, leading activist in Silwan and director of the Wadi Hilweh Information Center.

Al-Bustan neighborhood of Silwan. (Photo: Mairav Zonszein)

The exact details behind each arrest and the veracity of the charges are not entirely clear, so this report will be updated as need be when more information surfaces. It is important to note that while all these arrests are well situated in a political and hegemonic context, they do reflect the complex and charged nature of the situation in East Jerusalem.

In Adnan’s case, he was charged with verbally threatening a Jewish settler of Silwan, and was released on bail for NIS 2,500 this morning (Thursday). The precise circumstances of the incident are not clear.

In Jawad’s case, the Wadi Hilweh Information Center where he works reported that police forces stormed the center yesterday afternoon and arrested him in front of children who were participating in a workshop. He is charged with assaulting a Palestinian, who has been rumored to have sold property in Silwan to Jews and is therefore considered a “collaborator.”

Here is a clip of Jawad speaking on 60 minutes about the problems in Silwan caused by the City of David.

Sources from the Sheikh Jarrah Solidarity Movement stated that the police conduct appeared improper, since the police representative admitted during the court hearing that Siyam’s interrogation was, among other things, of political nature. They questioned him about his role in the Silwan Popular Committee, its information center and his alleged connection to the Palestinian Authority, all unrelated to the file charged against him. Also, the timing of his arrest is peculiar, as it comes weeks after the alleged complaint against Siyam was submitted and the decision to bring charges against him for the alleged assault was taken only after he was detained and interrogated on the other issues.

During the hearing the police presented classified information to Justice Alexander Ron of the Jerusalem Magistrate Court that Siyam and his defense attorney were not permitted to view, thus he could not defend himself against it.

Although the police admitted that there is no evidence tying Siyam to the event besides the claim filed by the complainant, it has refused to collect other eyewitness testimonies, which support Siyam’s version.

The court’s backing of the police’s position was clear when the judge allowed the police to decline to answer questions posed by Siyam’s attorney and left him uncertain of basic facts in the charges brought against him, such as the time of the event.

At the end of the hearing, the police demanded that Siyam stay in custody for six more days but the court prolonged Siyam’s arrest for only two days (till Friday). His lawyers appealed, and the court agreed to hold another hearing today, which will be reported on here as soon as information is released.

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    1. Martin Sandberger

      zionists need to leave Jerusalem asap. It is holy to Islam and Christianity. Wall Street is holy to you

      Reply to Comment
    2. I’m once again totally stupefied by people like you @Martin Sandberger.
      What is the point of that comment?
      To vent your anger? go to anger management.
      To help the conflict? demonstrate or donate.
      To say things just to get other people mad? I thought they covered this on the first day of preschool.
      Are you really that ignorant that you don’t realize that comment is the exact equivalent of the people you hate, just transpose between a few of the religions you mention.

      Reply to Comment
    3. anti-Israel

      The question is: what is the answer? If people are non-violently demonstrating—at terrible cost…run over by bulldozers(Rachael Corrie) eyes shot out (Emily Henochowicz), imprisoned, tortured, harassed, humiliated, we ought to ask who they are appealing to. This is not clear to me. Are they appealing to Netanyahu? Are they appealing to the EU? Are they appealing to Obama? These don’t seem to be very productive avenues by which to affect change, since the parties in question have made it as clear as they possibly can that there will be no consequences–physical, legal or financial–for the unremitting suffering imposed on Palestinians by Israel, (often using US weaponry). Are the protesters trying to raise global awareness? Here at least, they have been hugely successful. Today, Israel is reviled around the world. Most people retch at the mere mention of Israel, but that too has done absolutely nothing to alter the grim dynamics of this conflict. So something very fundamental has to change. I don’t think the movement should pat itself on the back and say we are making slow but steady progress. I don’t see any progress at all. So I have to say that more and more people are reaching the conclusion that Israel itself is incompatible with justice and human rights and efforts ought to be directed toward establishing a future Israel-free world. This should be the goal.

      Reply to Comment
    4. David

      Comments like the one of “Anti Israel” (Martin’s too, but Anti Israel gets the prize; Martin your idea is just as ridiculous as to say tiny pink elephants do exist – I advice you to read the Koran and look who was Musa and Harun and Daud and Suleyman, and even Isa. They were all Banu Israil) actually justify not only the very existence of the State of Israel, but the legitimate case of a nation’s right to exist and to defend itself from aggressions…..

      Having said that, just look at the living standards of these people of Silwan… Their situation needs to improve, and mostly in an *economic* way. More resources have to be used to help them improve their lives.

      Reply to Comment
    5. Scott Smythe

      Im interpreting Mairav’s silence to anti-Israel and Sandberger as tacit agreement. Correct me if I am wrong

      Reply to Comment
    6. anti-Israel


      Your post is quite garbled and incoherent. What is it exactly you are trying to say?

      Scott, FWIW I don’t agree with Martin Sandberger. The main reason is that every Palestinian faction including Hamas has been open to negotiation on the refugee question, demanding only just compensation, NOT full right of return for all refugees, (despite this being their inalienable legal right). This has been spelled out in a number of documents, including the Geneva Accord, endorsed by the Palestinians and the entire Arab League. If Israel had the slightest interest in a just resolution of the conflict, they would have leapt at the opportunity (still open). Instead, they ignored the Geneva Accord as they have ignored for over 30 years the world consensus on the blueprint for peace—supported by the entire globe, minus the US and Israel (plus a few bought off coral atolls in the Pacific including Narau and Tuvalu).

      Reply to Comment
    7. Mairav Zonszein

      Scott, you are wrong. (more to come)

      Reply to Comment