The Silwan Resident’s Committee wrote a letter to the Jerusalem Mayor Barakat requesting he “order an immediate stop of all excavations in Silwan (City of David), including archaeological excavations and construction excavations, quarrying or tunneling, until there is a comprehensive engineering examination, in complete transparency and with the cooperation of the residents, of the land in Wadi Hilweh, to guarantee that all public and private construction is conducted under the provisions of the law and does not pose a danger to the public.”
Photos of previous ground collapses in the area were attached to the letter.
The letter quotes of David Beeri, chairman of the settler committee Elad, in which he describes how he carries out excavations and underground construction without a permit in Silwan, while clearly and knowingly endangering the residents and acting against the instructions of the engineer. Among other things he says:
“Usually you build a building from the bottom up, right? Here we built from top to bottom… you keep digging and then you are in the air. So there are engineers in Israel. But they are good until you have problems. You have problems? He tells you ‘close it all up.’ I tell him: ‘Are you out of your mind?’ He says: ‘Close it all up.’ Then the winter comes and the soil starts sliding and up there are Arab homes, it is scary, and at some point you suddenly discover that you are the engineer yourself. And the whole time we were waiting to see when we are going to hit rock, so that these walls will be standing on something… we started to dig carefully and to support ourselves with iron constructions that hold the mountain and the houses. We found ourselves with 5 km of iron welding inside, absolutely nuts. The price of iron went up because of us.”