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News > Palestine

Giant Eye Murals Call for Peace in East Jerusalem

  • Eye Murals in Jerusalem, 2022.

    Eye Murals in Jerusalem, 2022. | Photo: Twitter/ @DailySabah

Published 8 September 2022

Murals in Silwan depict the eyes of those villagers who were forced to evict from their houses as well as of Palestinians who were killed in Israeli military raids.

About 20 pairs of giant eyes recently emerged on the walls of houses in Silwan, a village south of the Old City of Jerusalem, staring at the city as if trying to tell their stories.


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These eye murals are part of the "I Witness Silwan" art project that started in 2016, when the village continued to receive house clearance and demolition orders from the Israeli government, said Zuheir Rajabi, head of Batan Al-Hawa Community Committee in Silwan.

Rajabi was also threatened with eviction, as Jewish settlers tried to take away the house where his family has lived for over 50 years, the purchase contract of which was signed back in 1966.

Villagers have taken legal actions over the years to protect their rights, but many houses were still demolished or evicted by Israeli authorities. Facing the cruel reality, they turned to express their voices and demands through art.

"We painted eyes to convey messages and emotions that we have the right to live here," said Rajabi.

Some 20 eye murals in Silwan were painted by volunteers from Palestine, the United States, and Israel, depicting the eyes of those villagers who were forced to evict from their houses as well as of Palestinians who were killed in Israeli military raids. Apart from eyes, artists also painted birds and flowers to beautify the community.

"We hope these paintings could bring villagers comfort and pleasantness, and relieve their pressure psychologically," said Rajabi, noting that violence and arrests from Israeli authorities are frequent in the village.

Jenan Maswadeh, materials manager for "I Witness Silwan", said that she chose to use art to express their demands as art is a language that all people can understand. By painting eye murals, she told the Jewish settlers in Silwan that many eyes were watching them and witnessing their all actions. The painting project in Silwan is continuing.

"We want to live in peace and we want our children to grow up peacefully and happily," said Rajabi, adding "this is the message that the murals aim to express to the world."

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