September 22, 2010
Wadi Hilweh Information Centre
Silwan Resident Shot Dead by Settlement Guards ~ Massive Army Presence
It was during the verbal argument that eyewitnesses say the settlement guards opened fire on the Palestinians men. The two injured were brought to Ein Kerem hospital. One of the Palestinians, Samer Sarhan, who is a father of five young children, was pronounced dead immediately upon arrival to the hospital.
After confirmation was received of the Palestinian martyr from Silwan, clashes erupted in the village and are continuing. There are reports of numerous injuries, although the number of injured people is unknown. There is a massive force of police and army personnel in the village, and the entire street has been cordoned off by officials. Helicopters are monitoring the area from overhead.
There were reports of further clashes between Palestinian residents and Israeli forces in the neighbourhood of Baten el-Hawa. It is known that there are are a number of casualties, however ambulances are being delayed by Israeli forces.
Clashes and tear gas in Baten el Hawa earlier today.
Israeli Forces Tear Gas Surrounded Mourners
Presently large numbers of Israeli Army are taking up position around Wadi Hilweh St in preparation for the return of the funeral procession.ISM
23 September 2010
On the morning of Tuesday 22 September a privately-hired Israeli settler security guard shot and killed a Palestinian man in the neighbourhood of Silwan in Palestinian East Jerusalem (Al-Quds). The killed man, Samer Sarhan, was aged 32 and had five children.
Eyewitnesses say the shooting followed a verbal disagreement between Sarhan and the security guard.
Palestinian outrage at the murder precipitated a general strike in the Silwan neighbour, with hundreds of people gathering in the street, chanting and shouting “Allahu Akbar”.
Hundreds of Israeli police, border police and soldiers occupied the area in anticipation of the funeral. Silwan residents created makeshift roadblocks trying to slow down forces entering the area. Some youths threw stones towards the occupying soldiers, exasperated by the impunity with which settlers are allowed to shoot at Palestinians. They set fire to one Police vehicle.
The funeral procession left the Al-Aqsa Mosque and soon came under fire from Israeli settlers living in their outposts around East Jerusalem.
Mourners at Sarhan’s burial found themselves confined inside the Bab al-Rahma cemetery, the exits blocked by the Israeli authorities.The border police then proceeded to open fire with tear gas canisters at the trapped people, the gas inducing severe breathing difficulties in some cases.
The private security guard was released on bail the day after the killing. Silwan resident
Abu Nasser said: “We are sure that the murderer will not be punished and perhaps even be given a medal for his crime.”
Israeli and international activists joined the Palestinians in solidarity, documenting the police’s and soldiers’ activities throughout the day, hoping to discourage human rights abuses with their presence.
Some activists volunteered at the Wadi Hilweh Information Centre, helping produce Hebrew and English-language media updates.
One international activist commented:
“the brutal occupation and illegal demolition of houses in Silwan was inevitably going to lead to this kind of situation with the settlers, who are heavily armed. It’s unbelievable: they’re kicking people out of their homes to build car parks. Classrooms and roads have collapsed into the ground because of subterranean excavation. It’s archaeological terrorism.”
Silwan is a neighbourhood of around 45,000 in Palestinian East Jerusalem. A small number of Israeli settlers have moved there, occupying Palestinian houses or living in the illegal Beit Yonatan settlement building.
There are currently twenty-two houses with outstanding demolition orders ~ prohibited by international law. An archaeological theme park has begun excavating beneath a large area of Silwan; this has already caused land to collapse.
Not to distract from the seriousness of these latest Israeli crimes, the following links can give a little explanation as to why there has been such a build up of tensions in the area of Silwan. This would explain Palestinian frustration and perhaps a little background on what led to the murder of Samer Sarhan.
News on Silwan can be followed at the Wadi Hilweh Information Centre.