The 14 Words

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Israel to push Palestinian residents out of Jerusalem village and bring in tourists

An ancient archaeological site is being developed into a tourist attraction in Nabi Samwill, a small town located just north of Jerusalem in the seam zone – the area between the 1949 Armistice Line and the Israeli Separation Wall. The tomb of the Prophet Samuel, from which the town gets its name, is housed in a 12th century stone fortress repurposed as a mosque during the Mamluk period.

Nabi Samwill is also home to about 250 Palestinian residents whose security and livelihoods are constricted by repeated demolitions of buildings in the town and Israel’s legal designation of the area as a national park.

In 1971, 46 houses were destroyed by the Israeli army, pushing town residents toward a hill east of the archaeological site. According to Samiyeh Barakat, an inhabitant of Nabi Samwill, many townspeople fled to Jordan after waves of displacements during the Six Day War and the following series of displacements in 1971.

Since the evictions of 1971, Israeli authorities have renovated the ancient mosque to be used as a space of prayer for Jewish as well as Muslim worshippers. Jews use the basement level of the building, where the tomb itself is located, and Muslims the ground floor.

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