Petition to High Court to prevent closure of space in the archaeological site in Silwan / City of David
2 September 2015
Emek Shaveh and group of Silwan residents petitioned the High Court to prevent closure of “Area G” (No. 3 on map) in the City of David archaeological site, located in Silwan village by the Old City. The petition was filed against the Nature and Parks Authority (NPA). Together with Elad foundation, NPA has been closing off public and archaeological areas previously open to all residents and visitors.
The closing of Area G began two months ago with construction of fences and gates around the area, making it possible to lock it. This archaeological site has been open to the public since the British Mandate in the 1920s. The NPA’s closure of a public space–located near a residential area–for the benefit of the national park, typifies its actions in Silwan for two decades now. In the mid-1990 the village spring ‘Ein Umm Al-Daraj / Ha-Gihon (No. 5 on map) was closed for archaeological excavations and was not accessible to residents ever since. In 2005 the NPA closed Birket al-Hamra / Pool of Siloam (No. 9 on map) at the southern end of the village, beside Al-Bustan neighborhood, and since then an entrance fee is required.
It is the Nature and Parks Authority’s duty to care for the antiquities and historical sites for the benefit of all citizens, and not turn national parks into a tool for land appropriation and dispossession of residents. We hope that the High Court will stop the process of taking over Area G, and that it requires the NPA and Elad to report their development plans and how they fit with the needs of the village.
This petition joins the one submitted by Emek Shaveh to the High Court earlier this year, about the tunnel connecting the Givati Parking Lot excavations and the Davidson Center in the Old City. In both cases we witnessed an attempt to expand control by the NPA and Elad of public areas or areas that are not their responsibility.
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