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.

 

Iran nuclear talks enter their final day

After a month-long battle, Tikrit 'liberated'

Kuwait emir pledges $500 million at Syria donors conference

Arab coalition pounds Yemeni capital

Ancient Libyan treasures now in ISIS' sights

Armed group takes prosecutor hostage in Istanbul

Palestine must wait for its day in court

UN rights chief expresses alarm on Yemen situation

Suicide blast in Iraq on bus carrying Iranian pilgrims

Iraq forces ‘retake’ government HQ in Tikrit

Massive power cut causes chaos across Turkey

Assad does not see Russia, Iran interests in Syria

Confidence in Tunisia ability to rebound as museum reopens to public

Iran claims US drone killed two military advisers in Iraq

Court finds ex-Israel Premier Olmert guilty in corruption retrial

Deadly air strike hits camp for displaced people in northwest Yemen

Erdogan insists on visit to Iran despite war-of-words

UN chief in Iraq for talks with top officials

UN warns of horrifying Syria 'catastrophe'

Iran asks for explanation on Erdogan comments

One day to Iran nuclear talks deadline

Yemen ex-president's son sacked as ambassador to UAE

At time of war, cigar business launched in Syria

Yemen Huthi rebels bombed for fifth night

Saudi police officers wounded in Riyadh drive-by shooting

World leaders show solidarity with Tunisia in march against extremism

Guarded optimism as Iran nuclear talks close in on deal

Dialogue remains distant as Arabs vow to defeat Iran 'puppet' in Yemen

Egypt renews calls for creation of joint military force at Arab summit

Saudi ambassador to return to Sweden after diplomatic spat

Libya forces ‘withdraw’ from frontline bases near oil ports

Qaeda seizes 'majority' of Syria northwestern city of Idlib

Torturous Iran talks move into top gear in battle of wills

UN Security Council keeps Libya arms embargo in place

Saudi-led airstrikes target arms depots in Yemen capital

Death toll from hotel attack rises as fighting continues in Somalia

Oil prices fall after Yemen-inspired gains

Turkish parliament passes security bill after long debate

Turkey army chief of staff visits historic tomb inside Syria

Saudi-led coalition keeps up raids against Yemen rebels

Assad says open to dialogue with US

US backs Saudi-led intervention in Yemen

Heavy Saudi raids force Sanaa residents to flee

Israeli Arab MP walks for Bedouins

Gulf stocks regain ground after early losses over Yemen