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Clashes in Silwan as Palestinians protest settler takeover

March 19, 2015 10:38 A.M. (Updated: March 20, 2015 6:02 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- Palestinian youths clashed with Israeli forces in East Jerusalem late Wednesday following the takeover of a building by Jewish settlers, locals said.

Director of the Wadi Hilweh Information Center, Jawad Siyam, said locals in the Silwan neighborhood protested in front of a building belonging to the al-Malhi family, which settlers moved into earlier in the day.

The clashes began after Israeli security guards prevented members of the al-Malhi family from entering the building to access their apartment.

Settlers had taken over three of four apartments in the building earlier in the day.

Israeli forces fired stun grenades and rubber-coated bullets at crowds that had gathered to protest the takeover of the building.

In October last year, hardline settlers moved into 35 apartments in Silwan, sparking anger and consternation among locals.

Some were allegedly acquired fraudulently, and others legally.

Jewish groups buying up property in the heart of Palestinian neighborhoods is an explosive political issue because it touches on the future of East Jerusalem, which the international community sees as the capital of a future Palestinian state.

The groups are looking to establish a contiguous Jewish presence in the area, thereby preventing any future division of the Holy City under a peace deal with the Palestinians.
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