Occupy the Israeli Occupation: Palestinians Erect Tent City in Contentious Area
Protesters supporting Palestinian statehood confront Israeli soldier in a demonstration in Al-Walaja, Sept. 16, 2011.
Photo Credit: Ryan Rodrick Beiler / Shutterstock.com
Palestinian activists are occupying the Israeli occupation. A tent city has been erected by a group of Palestinians in the contentious area known as the E1 corridor, a piece of land the Israeli government has long planned to build settlements on to link Jerusalem with the illegal colony of Ma’ale Adumim.
Activists have called the tent city the village of Bab Al-Shams. 250 Palestinians are now in Bab Al-Shams, and they say they plan to stay for the long-term. They held Friday prayer services in the village earlier today.
The Israeli publication Haaretz reports that “the project was started roughly a month ago, mainly by Palestinian residents of villages in danger of having their lands ‘frozen’ to accommodate settlement expansions.”
“We, the sons and daughters of Palestine from all throughout the land, announce the establishment of Bab Alshams Village (Gate of the Sun). We the people, without permits from the occupation, without permission from anyone, sit here today because this is our land and it is our right to inhabit it,” reads a statement put out by the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee, which supports the weekly Friday protests in Palestinian villages against the separation barrier that eats up the West Bank and was ruled to be illegal by the International Court of Justice. “We will not remain silent as settlement expansion and confiscation of our land continues. Therefore we hereby establish the village of Bab Alshams to proclaim our faith in direct action and popular resistance. We declare that the village will stand steadfast until the owners of this land will get their right to build on their land.”
The protest is in response to the Israeli government’s continued expansion of illegal settlements and, specifically, the announcement that settlements were to be built in the E1 area. The plans to build in E1 have been called a “fatal heart attack” on the two-state solution, since they would effectively bisect the West Bank and cut off Palestinian access to East Jerusalem, the proclaimed future capital of Palestinian state. Jerusalem was illegally annexed by Israel in 1980 in a move not recognized by the international community.
While the announcement to build in E1 was made in response to the successful Palestinian bid at the United Nations, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has not yet gone fully through with the plan, likely due to international pressure.
The Israeli authorities have responded to the new tent city by “blocking entry” to the site, according to the Israeli daily Haaretz. Activists on the ground using social media also reported that the Israeli military has issued eviction orders for the new village.