Israeli Supreme Court Intervenes in Silwan
The Supreme Court of Israel has issued a temporary restraining order stopping further work in Silwan by the private archaeological firm Elad. Elad has been accused of digging on private property of Arab landowners without permission, tunneling under Arab houses and causing structural damage. The issues are especially contentious because the Arab residents of Silwan see the intrusions as an attempt to move them from their neighborhood which lies just south of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.
In a further development, the restraining order against Arik Ascherman, Executive Director of Rabbis for Human Rights – Israel, was shortened and will expire on noon on Sunday. Other activists have been filling in for him manning the protest lines at the City of David tour guide office. Hundreds of thousands of tourists are led through the archaeological digs in Silwan and the Arab residents have no way of telling their side of the story to these tourists. The demonstrators at the City of David offices are able to distribute leaflets to the tourists describing the situation in Silwan. The demonstrations are held every Friday and Sunday.