Sheikh Jarrah, Silwan, and the Need For Historical Justice

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The violence carried out against the Jewish state during the Ramadan war with Hamas and its agents within Israelis cities like Ramle, Lod, and even Jerusalem was said to be rooted in the false narrative that “ethnic cleansing” was currently underway by Israel against the Arab residents of Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan.

This lie was used as pretext for a preplanned assault on the very notion of Jewish indigeneity to the Land of Israel. Of course this has been the strategy from the outset. By tapping into the Western addiction to “intersectionality” the “palestinian” leaders and their allies have tried to draw their movement under the umbrella of social justice causes. To this end they have largely succeeded.

Our challenge is to speak the truth about these neighborhoods. Whether it is Shekh Jarrah, which historically has been known as Shimon HaTzaddik or Silwan, an Arabized name of Shiloach – the home of the Yemenite Village. Arabs used the weakness of the British in the 1920s, 1930s, and ultimately in 1948 to steal historic Jewish neighborhoods and then squatted in the stolen houses and synagogues.

For the international neo-marxist left, all things Jewish in Israel started in 1948. In their eyes we the Jewish people are the colonizers. Yet, the true narrative is the opposite. Historically, the Jewish presence in the modern sense was already in a majority in Jerusalem by the 1860s. The Shimon HaTzaddik neighborhood was established at least a decade before, with Arabs following outside the walls of the Old City only after.

The Shiloach or the Yemenite Village – today called Silwan by Arab occupiers, was settled in 1882 by Yemenite Jews. No Arabs lived anywhere nearby. The Arabs were eventually allowed to push out the Jewish residents by a weak handed Britain.

The reason why the Arabs and their supporters have attempted to claim ethnic cleansing when it comes to these neighborhoods is that the truth about them and why the Arabs even live in them would flip the “palestinian” narrative on its head. Because at the end of the day, it is not the Jewish people who are the occupiers or thieves, but rather the European created “palestinian” people who are the real occupiers.

This is exactly why the truth about these neighborhoods must be at the forefront of our struggle for Jerusalem and the Land of Israel. Beyond the Biblical promise from HaShem to the Jewish people that the Land of Israel is ours, the truth of the historical narrative is paramount to us winning the current against the growing lies about the Nation Israel’s rights in all of Jerusalem and the Land of Israel.

David Mark
Article by David Mark

David heads up community development and outreach for Ateret Cohanim. Besides guiding countless groups throughout the Old City and other areas of the Holy Basin, he works side by side with the team on new development projects and educational outreach initiatives. Besides his work with Ateret Cohanim, he is intimately involved with Land Reclamation activities in Judea and Samaria.


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