Tuesday, July 06, 2010

The truth about the Yemenite village of Silwan

With thanks: Independent Observer

The 19th century settlement of Yemenite Jews in Silwan was established on a bare hillside outside the walls of Jerusalem (Photo reproduced with help from Robert Avrech of Seraphic Secret)

The Observer is helping to spread the myth that Jews and Arabs lived happily together in the Jerusalem village of Silwan. In its obituary of 4 July 2010 of the PLO terrorist Abu Daoud, it wrote:

Mohammed Daoud Oudeh was born in the Silwan quarter of east Jerusalem, where he claimed to have mixed happily with Yemeni Jews. He taught mathematics and physics to Palestinian schoolchildren and qualified as a lawyer. He remained in Silwan until Jerusalem was occupied by Israel during the June 1967 war. Moving to Amman, he joined the Palestine Liberation Organisation, then followed a training course in Cairo to help form the PLO security apparatus in 1968.

But Abu Daoud would have been born just two years before the last of the Yemenite Jews of Silwan had been advised to evacuate the village by the British, following bloody disturbances during the Arab revolt and Arab attacks in 1921 and 1929. The Elder of Zion blog explodes the myth that Arabs mixed happily with Yemenite Jews, quoting this Wikipedia entry:

"In 1884, the Yemenites moved into new stone houses at the south end of the Arab village, built for them by a Jewish charity called Ezrat Niddahim. This settlement was called Kfar Hashiloach or the Yemenite Village. Construction costs were kept low by using the Shiloach as a water source instead of digging cisterns. An early 20th century travel guide writes: In the “village of Silwan, east of Kidron … some of the fellah dwellings [are] old sepulchers hewn in the rocks. During late years a great extension of the village southward has sprung up, owing to the settlement here of a colony of poor Jews from Yemen, etc. many of whom have built homes on the steep hillside just above and east of Bir Eyyub,”[15] The Yemenite Jews living in Silwan were evacuated on advice of the British authorities in 1938, during the Arab revolt.[16] After the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, Silwan was annexed by the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.[17] It remained under Jordanian occupation until 1967, when Israel captured the Old City and surrounding region. "

Elder of Zion rightly asks why the 19 years of Jordanian occupation give Arabs a greater right to Silwan than the 100 years when Jews lived on the site.

* On 23 June Ynet News reported that ten Knesset members from right-wing factions had expressed their willingness to join Jewish residents in the east Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan and help them evacuate Arab families living in a building which previously served as a synagogue for Yemenite Jews.

The 11 MKs claimed : "Israel is not carrying out its duty according to a verdict of the head of the repossession department. We wish to inform you that we plan, together with the Temple-treasury loyalists, to implement the legal right to carry out the demolition and evacuate the squatters from the synagogue."

Yemenites have lived in Jerusalem since 1881

13 comments:

Eliyahu m'Tsiyon said...

it is very important to straighten out the fake history that usually prevails in the MSM.

Juniper in the Desert said...

shared.

Anonymous said...

http://www.alt-arch.org/yemenites.php

In 1884 the first Yemenites settled in Silwan and for 45 years lived peacefully and in very good terms with their Arab neighbors. It seemed that the people of Silwan, which was known to be a poor village, found common ground with the poor Jewish Yemenites that lived among them.

In the 1929 Arab Riots, not a single Jewish resident of Silwan (Shiloah village) was killed or injured. The Arab residents of the village, led by the Ghozlan family, sheltered their Jewish neighbors and prevented their attack. After a few days of rioting, the British, who mandated Palestine at that time, moved the Yemenite Jews into the old city. A group of Jews returned to live in Silwan after 1929, but following the 1936 Great Arab Revolt, all the Jews left the village.

Despite the attempt to depict the 1929 Arab Riot as a violent incident against the Jews in Silwan, it is clear that it was not the case. From a letter of gratitude that the Yemenite Jews sent to their Arab neighbors, we can learn about the devotion and benevolence that the Arabs have shown towards the Yemenites by undauntedly protecting them, and also about the amity and good neighborly relations that prevailed between the two communities.

......................

And again I would say - if you can move Jewish residents into Silwan based on pre1948 property claims what is to stop Palestinians petitioning to move back to West Jerusalem based on the same claims?

bh

Eliyahu m'Tsiyon said...

bh, as you say, the Yemenite Jewish settlement in the area was called Kfar haShilo'ahh or Kfar Shilo'ahh כפר השילוח . In 1929, the Arabs of Silwan [a name derived from Siloam, a Christian/Greek version of Shilo'ahh] did protect their Jewish neighbors from the pogrom [actually, a countrywide pogrom] that the Mufti of Jerusalem [Haj Amin el-Husseini] organized with apparent British approval and cooperation. But they did not protect their Jewish neighbors in 1936, as you say in so many words. Now, how do we explain this change of attitude?? More prolonged and effective anti-Jewish indoctrination by Husseini's followers and by the British govt in the country?? More effective British intervention against the Jews?? This is an interesting and important question. The fact remains in any case that the Jews of Silwan, not all of them of Yemenite origin by the way, were all driven out by the late 1930s. With apparent approval by the British mandatory govt.
As you say, and I agree, we can't say that all the Arabs are bad guys. But an explanation of what changed between 1929 and 1936 would be instructive.

Isaiah Friedman has published a new book on how the British govt in the country worked to keep Jews and Arabs in the country apart and in opposition to each other. He may have some answers.

By the way, a least one member of the Ghozlan family went to the Jordanian land registration authorities [between 1949 and 1967] and registered in his own name real estate plots that belonged to Jews but to which the Jewish owners had no access in the years of Jordanian occupation of part of Jerusalem.

Eliyahu m'Tsiyon said...

Now as to bh's argument from moral equivalence about regaining prewar property, I point out to him that the Arabs were the aggressors in the various pogroms between 1920 and 1936 and were also the aggressors in the 1947-1949 War of Independence of Israel.

Anonymous said...

To bh's comment:"if you can move Jewish residents into Silwan based on pre-1948 property claims what is to stop Palestinians petitioning to move back to West Jerusalem based on the same claims?"
I would say that Palestinian claims in West Jerusalem must be treated on the same basis as Jewish claims in Baghdad, Cairo, etc - claims which the Arabs have yet to acknowledge.

Anonymous said...

Eliyahu

Regarding your point about the Arab's being agressors in 20/36/48-49 I agree and it could also be argues that they were in '67 also (altohugh Israel's strikes were pre-emptive I do not intend to debate this point).

Prior to 1948 Israel didn't exist, after 48 Israeli's and the UN agreed that Israels would be born without the Old City of Jerusalem. The spoils of the war of Independence did go to Israel, but whilst these didn't include Jerusalem Israel's territory was expanded.

After '67 more territory was captured by Israel. My really point is not to argue whether Israel should or should not be entitles to the spoils of war - the international community has obviously shown double standards over this - my point is that if Israel believes that all the territory captured/liberated in in '67 is theirs then act accordingly, and offer Palestinians citizenship and equal rights in Jerusalem and elsewhere. If the captured/liberated in '67 isn't Israeli then hand it over to the Palestinians and allow them to decide how they use it.

It's the double standard that I argue against, not the rights and wrongs of ownership.

bh

bh said...

Eliyahu

Regarding your point about the Arab's being agressors in 20/36/48-49 I agree and it could also be argues that they were in '67 also (altohugh Israel's strikes were pre-emptive I do not intend to debate this point).

Prior to 1948 Israel didn't exist, after 48 Israeli's and the UN agreed that Israels would be born without the Old City of Jerusalem. The spoils of the war of Independence did go to Israel, but whilst these didn't include Jerusalem Israel's territory was expanded.

After '67 more territory was captured by Israel. My really point is not to argue whether Israel should or should not be entitles to the spoils of war - the international community has obviously shown double standards over this - my point is that if Israel believes that all the territory captured/liberated in in '67 is theirs then act accordingly, and offer Palestinians citizenship and equal rights in Jerusalem and elsewhere. If the captured/liberated in '67 isn't Israeli then hand it over to the Palestinians and allow them to decide how they use it.

It's the double standard that I argue against, not the rights and wrongs of ownership.

bh

bataween said...

hi bh
according to this article, 12,000 palestinians fron east jerusalem have obtained israeli citizenship in the last 2 years - and even as residents they are entitled to social benefits. it is not israel which has denied these palestinians their rights, it is they who have been reluctant to take them up

http://dissentmagazine.org/article/?article=3254

bh said...

bataween

thanks for posting this article. very interesting. on a similar note, Palestinian residents of east Jerusalem don't vote in municipal elections for fear of legitimising the occupation. If they did however, the situation in Jerusalem might be quite different.

bh

Eliyahu m'Tsiyon said...

bh, Arab rights to restitution of property in areas held by Israel since 1948 --I repeat-- are not the same as those of the Jewish owners of property in formerly Arab-occupied parts of the Jewish National Home [that is, occupied by either Egypt or Jordan]. This is because the Arab side was the aggressor side. This is not a double standard, as I see it, but a moral judgment based on who was the aggressor in the 1947-49 war.

As Bataween points out, there is also the issue of Jewish property in Arab lands, either confiscated or abandoned by Jewish owners who fled. Don't forget that the 1947-49 war [ended by the Rhodes armistice accords of early 1949] was a war declared by the Arab League in which local Arabs, palestinian Arabs, were joined by the regular armies of several Arab states as well as an Arab League sponsored irregular armed force, the Fawzi al-Kawuqji force, called I believe, the Arab Liberation Army politically guided from Damascus.

You seem to need reminding that
1) the first refugees in the war who could not go back to the place of their former homes after the war were the Jews of the Shimon haTsadiq Quarter in Jerusalem driven from their homes in late December 1947. They were driven out by Arab irregular forces commanded by the Husseini-led Arab Higher Committee for Palestine. These forces had British govt acquiescence and/or encouragement. The locations of Shimon haTsadiq, Nahalat Shimon, and Siebenbergen Houses were taken over the Arab Legion of Transjordan [now Jordan], except for part of the Siebenbergen tract that became the no-man's land over which the Mandelbaum Gate was built, and the possibility that a very small part of that tract stayed under Israeli control.

2) the UN general assembly partition plan adopted on 11-29-1947 was a mere recommendation as are all UN GA resolutions on political matters [See UN charter, articles 10-14]. Hence, all of the mandated territory remained legally part of the Jewish National Home juridically set up by the international community in 1920 at San Remo, endorsed by the League of Nations in 1922 [the League also setting terms for the mandate given to the UK to foster development of the National Home], confirmed by the UN charter in Article 80, etc.

That is, Judea-Samaria and Gaza remained part of the Jewish National Home during the 19 years of Egyptian and Jordanian occupation. The UN today would be likely to reject what was previously recognized as law. But the UN is a highly political institution dominated by anti-Israel Muslim states and hypocritical, less overtly Judeophobic, Westerners.

As Bataween points out Israel did offer citizenship to all legally recognized residents of the formerly Arab-occupied parts of Jerusalem [whence Jews had been ethnically cleansed]. Many Arab residents of the city did take up that offer, applied for citizenship and were granted it. Some Arabs in Judea-Samaria outside Jerusalem were also granted Israeli citizenship upon application. The Palestinian Authority considers them traitors.

Further on Jerusalem, the partition plan recommended by the UN GA called for Jerusalem and the Bethlehem area, with many Christian holy sites, to be an internationally governed enclave [corpus separatum]. Neither Israel nor Jordan wanted that arrangement.

bh said...

Eliyahu

I know we won't agree on this the double standard/moral standard issue. The other point I take issue with is that the "Jewish National Home" was to be "in" Palestine, though not necessarily the whole of Palestine. Obviously its wording is intentionally vague and therefore contentious. The partition plan, whether legally binding or not was agreed to by the representatives of the Jewish community with reservations, but with Jerusalem itself firmly in the Arab part of the territory.

anyway - the rest for another time

with respect

bh

Eliyahu m'Tsiyon said...

bh, two issues raised in your last comment:
1) whether "in palestine" meant the whole country of Israel or not. This issue has been chewed over many times in the past. I suggest that you read the L of N's mandate several times closely. I think you will see that the whole country was meant. Further, the word "in" in this context ought to also be interpreted in the context of previous statements and declarations, such as the San Remo decision [1920] which incorporated the Balfour Declaration into international law and thus juridically erected the Jewish National Home two years before the League of Nations endorsement of that principle with the actual statement of mandate.

2) Jerusalem, according to the Partition Plan recommendation of the UN general assembly of 11-29-1947, was to be an internationally governed enclave or corpus separatum, albeit surrounded by Arab territory according to that same recommendation. That should not have given Arab Muslims in the city rights not given to Jews. Further, the whole purpose of making Jerusalem a separately governed enclave, including Bethlehem, Beyt Sahour and Beyt Jalla [all majority Christian at that time], was to have the Christian holy places under Western Christian control and to remove the maximum number of native Christians from Muslim rule, bringing as many Christians as possible into the enclave to be created. Note, bh, that in the late Ottoman period and in the British period, Jerusalem in its municipal boundaries of those periods had a Jewish majority population at least as early as 1853.

http://ziontruth.blogspot.com/2006/03/jewish-majority-in-jerusalem-in-1853.html