Israel to destroy the only Palestinian industrial area in east Jerusalem

200 palestinian businesses to be abolished for silicon valley

The decision of the Jerusalem Municipality to develop Silicon Valley (Wadi) in the Israeli occupied East Jerusalem will destroy the only Palestinian industrial area in East Jerusalem.  The Municipality has already issued eviction notices to 200 Palestinian owners of industrial buildings. Palestinians will lose livelihood and businesses as the result of this project.  

Kamal Obeidat, chairman of east Jerusalem’s Arab Chamber of Commerce and Industry, called the move a “racist order” to destroy the only Palestinian industrial area in east Jerusalem in order to build Israeli structures, according to the Palestinian WAFA news agency. He said that it was made by recommendation of the Planning and Zoning Committee and will demolish car repair shops, restaurants and other facilities.
According to Municipality, The project aims to create about 10,000 quality employment places in east Jerusalem; strengthen trust between the population of east Jerusalem and the municipality and government; employ more east Jerusalem women; and strengthen the status of the Israeli curriculum in east Jerusalem as a key to higher education and employment.
Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion has claimed that "We are taking an additional step on the way to actualize the historic plan in east Jerusalem, and bringing a huge message to the economy in Jerusalem in general and especially in the eastern part of the city, with an increased supply of hi-tech employment.
 We will make sure to bring the leading companies in the market and the highest quality personnel in the east of the city here. We will work in full synchronization with planning, employment and training officials, in order to truly revolutionize and create hope in the east of the city as well."
This move to evict Palestinian industrialists and businessmen seems to be part of the ongoing campaign by Israeli authorities to grab the Palestinian lands and homes. The Municipality is using the lame excuse of construction permits to demolish the Palestinian homes and businesses.

The employment that will be generated from Silicon Wadi project would go mostly to Israeli settlers. The Palestinian people will be excluded from employment and business opportunities. The Palestinian people are justified in their fears of permanent displacement.
On Saturday, two Palestinians from the Jerusalem neighborhood of Jebl Mukaber demolished their homes after being ordered to do so by the Jerusalem Municipality due to lack of a construction permit, according to WAFA. On Friday, another family in Jebl Mukaber was also ordered to demolish their own home.
On Sunday, residents of Birayn, a small Palestinian village near the town of Yatta, located south of Hebron, were informed by Israeli authorities that five residential buildings and the building of the village’s council were going to be demolished, according to WAFA, also due to a lack of construction permits. Birayn is located in Area C, under full Israeli military and civil control.
The demolitions in Jerusalem come amid heightened tensions in the city after 32 years old Palestinian special needs student Halak was shot and killed by Border Police near the Old City on Saturday. He was a resident of Wadi al-Joz, where the demolitions are set to occur.
Israel also continues to arrest more Palestinians in East Jerusalem to break the resistance against occupation policies. According to the Palestinian Prisoner Club, over 750 Palestinians have been arrested in Jerusalem since the beginning of 2020.
                                                Khalid Bhatti                                               

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