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.

 

War-torn Syria gears towards 'cessation of hostilities'

Iraqi PM urges Kurdistan to drop any plans for independence

Erdogan threatens to send millions of refugees to EU

Train derails in Egypt’s Bani Sueif province

Berlin film fest competition kicks off with Arab film

Russia accuses US planes of hitting Aleppo

Anti-ISIS coalition looks to decisive new phase

Turkey, Israel open new normalisation talks

Assault on Aleppo displaces tens of thousands

Moroccan King inaugurates Aquaculture Farm in Oued Ed-dahab

Turkish forces end operation in southern town

NATO launches unprecedented Aegean migrant naval mission

Suspected PKK militants attack two Turkey pro-govt newspapers

Iranians mark 37 years since Islamic revolution

Moscow ready to discuss modalities of ceasefire in Syria

Egypt hires UK firm to review Sharm security

Tunisia makes $500 million from assets of ousted president

Turkey dismisses pressure to open borders as 'hypocritical'

Efforts to form Libya unity government stumble over defence portfolio

Iran blames failure of Syria peace talks on participation of ‘terrorists’

Syria opposition hopes for end of sieges

UAE names women state ministers in major government shake-up

French Foreign Minister steps down with criticism of US role in Syria

Germany hopes Syria talks in Munich will agree to provide aid

Syrian Kurdish separatists open Moscow representation

Jordan rejects France extradition request for 1982 terror attack suspects

Libya parliament extends deadline for formation of new unity government

Herzog wants Israel to begin separation from Palestinian areas

Khomeini grandson loses appeal against exclusion from Iran elections

Turkey, US split deepens over support for Syria Kurds

EU tells members to accelerate refugee relocation

Abu Dhabi Crown Prince in India: String of trade, security deals expected

Syria regime's Aleppo offensive kills more than 500

Ex-Israeli PM’s prison sentence extended

Turkey summons US envoy over Syria Kurds row

Unstable dam affecting Mosul recapture

Jihadist attacks bring Egypt's tourist industry to its knees

‘Hell’ falling on Aleppo

Enormous challenges emerge after full liberation of Ramadi

Hamas fighter dies in latest tunnel collapse

Aleppo siege spells trouble for the West

Egypt policeman jailed for beating vet to death

How many civilians are living under 'surrender or starve' sieges in Syria?

NATO to consider policing refugee crisis

Iran deal will delay bomb up to 15 years