First Published: 2013-01-13


Israel evicts Palestinian activists from Gate of Sun camp


Camp is new tactic in Palestinian arsenal of non-violent protest action against Israel's occupation of West Bank.


Middle East Online

By Abbas Momani - ZAIM (Palestinian Territories)

Activists: Popular struggle will continue

Israeli police evicted dozens of Palestinian activists early Sunday from a first-of-its-kind protest camp they set up in a West Bank area slated for Jewish settlement.

Police and activists confirmed that hundreds of Israeli police entered the campsite in the controversial E1 area on the outskirts of Jerusalem at around 2:30 am (00.030 GMT) on Sunday.

They quickly bundled around 200 Palestinian activists at the Bab al-Shams (Gate of the Sun in Arabic) camp into buses and drove them from the site.

The camp has been set up on Friday in the E1 area between Israeli annexed east Jerusalem and the Maaleh Adumim settlement.

Israel recently moved forward with plans to build in the area, drawing international criticism for the move, which Palestinians say would effectively end the chances for the creation of a contiguous Palestinian state.

"Hundreds of Israeli police came from all directions, surrounding all those who were in the tents and arresting them one by one," Palestinian legislator Mustafa Barghouti said.

But police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said that no arrests had been made.

"They were told they were trespassing and carefully escorted from the site one by one," he said.

"Nobody was hurt on either side," he added, saying around 500 police took part in the operation.

Protest organisers said that six people were injured during the operation, and that those detained were taken elsewhere in the West Bank by bus and released.

In a statement, the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee group that organised the camp vowed that the protest would not be the last of its kind.

"This is not the end of the popular struggle and it will continue in its full strength."

Speaking to Israeli army radio, Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat praised the protest, saying, "Palestinians are trying to protect the land of their state and they have done something peaceful."

"It was shameful for the Israeli government to do what they did this morning," he added.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's office said on Saturday night that he wanted the protesters removed at once and that state lawyers were asking the Israeli Supreme Court to overturn a Friday injunction postponing the eviction.

In documents released to the media, the lawyers argued that the protest could attract rightwing Israeli settlers, "some of them extremists", who would stage counter-demonstrations that could result in "breaches of the peace against Palestinians and security forces."

The court did not overturn the injunction before the eviction, but activists said they were told that Israeli officials considered the injunction prevented only the removal of the tents, and not the eviction of activists.

The camp is a new tactic in the Palestinian arsenal of non-violent protest action against Israel's occupation of the West Bank.

"This is a new type of resistance, different to armed resistance or stone-throwing," 27-year-old protester Omar Ghassan, said.

It is modelled on the wildcat outposts that Jewish activists have set up on Palestinian land to try to force the government's hand into authorising settlements, though Palestinian protesters noted that Israel's government moves slowly, if at all, to dismantle Jewish outposts in the West Bank.

The international community regards all Jewish settlements on occupied Palestinian land as illegal, but the Israeli government makes a distinction between those it has authorised and those it has not.


Abbas calls US ambassador to Israel 'son of a dog'

UN says Turkey security measures 'curtail human rights'

IS controls Damascus district in surprise attack

Pro-Turkish forces loot Afrin

Iraqis flock to flea market for relics of bygone era

Netanyahu says African migrants threaten Jewish majority

US Senate votes on involvement in Yemen war as Saudi prince visits

What a ‘limited strike’ against Syria’s Assad might mean

Natural gas in eastern Mediterranean fuels increasing tensions

Erdogan tells US to stop ‘deceiving’, start helping on Syria

French ex-president held over Libya financing allegations

NGO says Israeli army violating Palestinian minors’ rights

Human rights chief slams Security Council for inaction on Syria

US warns Turkey over civilians caught in Syria assault

Saudi crown prince keen to cement ties with US

Erdogan vows to expand Syria op to other Kurdish-held areas

Kurdish envoy accuses foreign powers of ignoring Turkish war crimes

Morocco authorities vow to close Jerada's abandoned mines

Israeli soldier sees manslaughter sentence slashed

Turkey insists no plans to remain in Afrin

Cairo voters show unwavering support for native son Sisi

Forum in Jordan explores new teaching techniques

Gaza Strip woes receive renewed attention but no fix is expected

Kurds, Syrian opposition condemn Afrin looting

36 jihadists killed in Egypt’s Sinai

Israel arrests French consulate worker for gun smuggling

Israel prepares to demolish Jerusalem attacker's home

Saudi crown prince says his country to seek nuclear bomb if Iran does

Arab women artists in diaspora focus on identity and loss

Tunisia’s Central Bank targets inflation but may hurt growth prospects

Libya’s health system reflects a larger humanitarian crisis

Israel blasts Gaza underground tunnel

Abu Dhabi awards France's Total stakes in oil concessions

Erdogan says Afrin city centre under ‘total’ control

Egypt tries to contain Sudan but challenges, suspicions remain

US defence secretary presses Oman on Iran weapons smuggling

Syrian regime retakes two towns from Ghouta rebels

Hamas shutters mobile firm after Gaza attack on PM

Israel punishes family members of West Bank attacker

Syria opposition says UN 'failed to prevent' Assad 'crimes'

UK tries to soothe Egyptian anger over mob attack death

Hundreds of thousands flee in dual Syria assaults

Turkish Cypriots vow to stand firm in gas dispute

Intensifying assaults in Syria spark dual evacuations

Tearful reunions, uncertain fates for Syrians fleeing Ghouta