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Ash Shayyah • الشياح


Ash-Shayyah is located in central East Jerusalem, on the steep slopes descending from Jabal az-Zaytoon (the Mount of Olives) towards a small offshoot of Wadi an-Nar (the Qidron Valley) known as Wadi Abdallah. The neighborhood developed on three sides of the channel (north, east, and west), on land that belonged to the village of Silwan, near its border with at-Tur and Abu Dis. The borders of the small neighborhood include the Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives to the west, the municipal boundary of the city and the Separation Barrier to the east, the Jericho Road (which no longer leads to Jericho because of the barrier) to the south, and the ash-Shayyah road (at the point where it turns westward) to the north.

Over the years, the area was settled by the landowners from Silwan as well as families from Hebron, who bought land from the villagers. By the 1970s, it was clear that a substantial neighborhood was developing on site. The homes were situated adjacent to the main roads, while the less accessible area remained as a land reserve for future generations. Until the 1990s, this reserve remained almost entirely vacant though today it is already mostly built up. According to approved plans, however, the entire land reserve (as well as additional areas) is slated for the expansion of the Jewish cemetery. This situation directly affects nearly one third of the residents of the neighborhood, while indirectly affecting all of the residents due to the limitations it poses on the natural development of the neighborhood.

The plan for the Visual Basin of the Old City, approved in 1977, was the first plan to reserve much of the land of the neighborhood for the cemetery’s expansion. The neighborhood plan, approved in the early 1990s, improved the situation only slightly, leaving the basic problem unchanged. Finally, the Jerusalem 2000 Outline Plan, awaiting deposition for public review, did not take any further steps to rectify the fact that this growing neighborhood is slated to become a cemetery. This is undoubtedly the most pressing issue for the residents.