Israeli settlers early Tuesday occupied 23 houses in the Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan south of the Old City of Jerusalem, a local information center said.
Wadi Hilweh Information Center said in a statement that “settlers of the Elad (Ir David) Association” stormed Silwan at 1:30 a.m. escorted by Israeli soldiers and forcibly evicted the residents of an apartment and occupied it, in addition to several vacant homes.
The houses belong to Baydoun, al-Karaki, Abu Sbeih, al-Zawahra, al-Abbasi, al-Khayyat, Qarain and al-Yamani families, the statement said.
The Wadi Hilweh Center called the act a “unprecedented settlement attack.”
“Even if the houses have been bought stealthily, this is still an illegal seizure of Arab houses by the Elad settlement association.”
Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld did not immediately comment on the incident.
Ir David Foundation is an organization that promotes a Jewish connection to parts of the Silwan neighborhood in occupied East Jerusalem, including the “City of David” archaeological site.
East Jerusalem is internationally recognized as Palestinian territory, but Israel occupied it in 1967 and later annexed it in a move never considered legitimate abroad.
More than 500,000 Israeli settlers live in settlements across the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, in contravention of international law.
(Ma’an – www.maannews.net)