Seizing Silwan: Come Steal More Parts of Palestine For $136 A Day! (But Keep Guns Loaded)
With little or no media attention, the unremitting colonization of Palestine goes on unabated. Last week, right-wing Jews from the settler group Ir David Foundation, or Elad, came in the middle of the night to take over Silwan, an Arab neighborhood in occupied East Jerusalem where Jews have long fought, sometimes using archeological arguments, to erase Palestinian history. With the help of well-armed Israeli police, the settlers seized seven buildings holding at least 22 apartments, claiming them for settlers of what they say will be the new City of David - an affront made even more egregious by its location hard by Al-Aqsa Mosque. To keep out residents, they chained closed the main gates of the buildings, changed locks, and put metal grills over windows; when residents unwelcomed them with stones and fireworks to protest what a community lawyer called an action lacking "any moral, religious or national scruples," they tear gassed them. To watch over the stolen apartments until new full-time residents could arrive, Elad then posted online ads seeking settlers for hire, offering 500 shekels, or about $136 a day, to make sure the people who actually owned and lived in those places didn't have the nerve to try to reclaim them. The only requirement: Any settler would have to “keep his gun loaded and ready to fire at any time.” It added, "Only suitable applicants will be accepted." The question inevitably arises: Suitable for what?