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11 Nov: UK ban on visiting Palestinian mental health workers

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11 Jan: Letter to the Guardian in response to Jonathan Freedland on Charlie Hebdo


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19 June Statement on the three kidnapped teenagers

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UPDATE: Illegal night-time eviction of village outpost set up on E1

Watch the 4 minute set of stills at We Shall Not be Moved 

UPDATE: first item is report of the 3 a.m. eviction of tent protesters, Sunday 13th January.
In addition, this posting has 5 items. Photos of the camp are in 1 and 2:
1) Mondoweiss: Palestinians establish new village– Bab al-Shams, ‘Gate of the Sun’– in Occupied E1;
2) +972: Palestinians build ‘settlement’ near Jerusalem, receive eviction orders from Border Police;
3) Al Jazeera: Israel orders Palestinians out of ‘tent city;
4) PIC: Hundreds of Bedouins take part in Bab Ashams sit-in in east J’lem;
5) Ynet: Court bars State from evicting Palestinian outpost;

Israeli border police remove a Palestinian from an outpost of tents in an area known as E1, near Jerusalem. Photo by Ammar Awad/Reuters

Israel evicts E1 Palestinian peace camp protesters

Israeli military make arrests in early morning swoop against Bab al-Shams encampment despite supreme court ruling

By Harriet Sherwood,
January 13, 2013 11.56 GMT

The Israeli state has swung into action against a group of Palestinian activists who established a tent village on a rocky hillside east of Jerusalem, with hundreds of security officials carrying out an eviction under the orders of the prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, in the early hours of Sunday morning.
According to activists, a large military force surrounded the encampment at around 3am. All protesters were arrested and six were injured, said Abir Kopty.
On Saturday evening, Netanyahu demanded the Israeli supreme court overturn an injunction preventing the removal of the protesters, and ordered the area to be declared a closed military zone.
Around 200 Palestinian activists set up the village, named Bab al-Shams (“gate of the sun”) and comprising around 20 tents, early on Friday morning on a highly sensitive swath of land known as E1 which Israel has earmarked for settlement development. The protesters’ actions echoed the tactics of radical settlers when establishing outposts in the West Bank.
The tents were erected on privately owned Palestinian land, the protesters said, with the full permission of the landowners. The activists sought legal protection from the supreme court, which granted an injunction against eviction and gave the state of Israel up to six days to respond.
Following the eviction, the Popular Struggle Co-ordinating Committee, which was involved in setting up the camp, said the state’s actions were illegal because Bab al-Shams was established on private land. “The action succeeded in inspiring all the residents of the village as well as Palestinians around the world. This is not the end of the popular struggle.”
The protest was launched six weeks after Netanyahu announced plans to press ahead with the development of E1, triggering strong international condemnation. The area, measuring around 12 sq km, lies between Jerusalem and the vast West Bank settlement of Ma’ale Adumim.
The Palestinian Authority and most western diplomats say the development of E1 will damage the prospects of a viable Palestinian state by almost bisecting the West Bank, effectively cutting it off from East Jerusalem, which is intended to be the future capital of a Palestinian state.
Speaking on Israel army radio on Sunday, Netanyahu said that planning for E1 is moving ahead and that “there will be construction”.
On Saturday, scores of Palestinian activists visited the site, perched close to a Bedouin encampment and within sight of a huge Israeli police headquarters. Activists brewed sweet tea and coffee on open fires, and volunteers manned a medical centre in one tent. Rubbish was collected by a team organised by a member of the seven-strong “village council”.
Mahmoud Zawahra, a protest leader, described the tent village as “constructive resistance”.
“We are part of a non-violent resistance movement. For us, this is occupied land so we created a village to stop the Israeli plan to build a settlement here,” he said.
Another activist, Samir, who declined to give his full name, said the protest had been organised secretly. “We know the army follows us on Twitter and Facebook, so we made out we were holding a protest somewhere else.”
Activists were trained in non-violent resistance techniques, he added. “This is not a scout camp, it is to empower Palestinians on the ground. We know [the army] will come, and we are prepared.”
Tha’ar Aniz, from nearby Azariya, said temperatures had plummeted overnight. “It was very cold. But if you want to be free, you have to withstand such things.”
Israeli security forces prevented Palestinian officials Hanan Ashrawi and Saeb Erekat from visiting the site on Saturday. Earlier, Ashrawi welcomed the establishment of Bab al-Shams, saying: “This initiative is a highly creative and legitimate non-violent tool to protect our land from Israeli colonial plans.
“We have the right to live anywhere in our state, and we call upon the international community to support such initiatives, as well as to protect those who are being threatened by Israeli occupation forces for exercising their right to peaceful resistance against the illegal Israeli occupation.”

First new Palestinian village since 1967 in the E1 area between East Jerusalem and the West Bank, established January 11, 2013. Photo by ActiveStills

Palestinians establish new village– Bab al-Shams, ‘Gate of the Sun’– in Occupied E1

By Allison Deger and Annie Robbins, Mondoweiss
January 11, 2013

Today in a show of defiance against Israel’s occupation and announced settlement expansion in the E1 area between East Jerusalem and the West Bank, 250 Palestinians erected tents near the village of Za’I’m and announced the establishment of a new Palestinian village named Bab al-Shams (Gate of the Sun).

“Because this is our land and it is our right to inhabit it,” said a statement by the Popular Struggle Coordinating Committee (PSCC) who spearheaded the action, “we will not remain silent as settlement expansion and confiscation of our land continues.”

“We have set up 20 tents, and have enough equipment to stay here for a long time,” said PSCC spokesperson Abir Kopty (a frequent contributor to this site) to the Agence France-Presse. Following the construction, the Israeli military promptly ordered the villagers to evacuate the camp and delivered an eviction notice. The Israeli military then returned several hours later to issue a second set of eviction documents, according to Tweets from activists present on the groud. However, Israel’s High Court has already decided that the village cannot be evicted for the next six days, according to Bab al-Shams villagers.

Earlier today the PSCC released the following statement, clarifying that Bab al-Shams is not a symbolic action and the group intends to maintain the new village as a permanent establishment:

We, the sons and daughters of Palestine from all throughout the land, announce the establishment of Bab al-Shams 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.

A few months ago the Israeli government announced its intention to build about 4000 settlement housing units in the area Israel refers to as E1. E1 block is an area of about 13 square km that falls on confiscated Palestinian land East of Jerusalem between Ma’ale Adumim settlement, which lies on occupied West Bank Palestinian land, and Jerusalem. We will not remain silent as settlement expansion and confiscation of our land continues. Therefore we hereby establish the village of Bab al-Shams 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 village’s name is taken from the novel, ‘Bab al-Shams,’ by Lebanese writer Elias Khoury. The book depicts the history of Palestine through a love story between a Palestinian man, Younis, and his wife Nahila. Younis leaves his wife to join the Palestinian resistance in Lebanon while Nahila remains steadfast in what remains of their village in the Galilee. Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, Younis smuggles through Lebanon and back to the Galilee to meet his wife in the ‘Bab Alshams’ cave, where she gives birth to their children. Younis returns to the resistance in Lebanon as his wife remains in Bab Al Shams.

Bab al-Shams is the gate to our freedom and steadfastness. Bab al-Shams is our gate to Jerusalem. Bab al-Shams is the gate to our to our return.

For decades, Israel has established facts on the ground as the International community remained silent in response to these violations. The time has come now to change the rules of the game, for us to establish facts on the ground – our own land. This action involving women and men from the north to the south is a form of popular resistance. In the coming days we will hold various discussion groups, educational and artistic presentations, as well as film screenings on the lands of this village. The residents of Bab al-Shams invite all the sons and daughters of our people to participate and join the village in supporting our resilience.

Haaretz also picked up the story:

A police contingent has blocked entry to the site, and there is still no decision on what is to be done with those already there.

Abdallah Abu Rahma, a leading Palestinian activist, said that the decision to build the new village sends the message that “Palestinians are no longer content with policies of occupation and settlement.”

According to Abu Rahma, 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. The activists are from A-Tur, Isawiyah, Abu Dis, al-Eizariya, and Anata, among other places. Abu Rahma that the activists will reside at the location until their outpost is recognized.

On Friday morning, 25 tents were erected for residents, as well as one to be used as a health clinic. Activists stated that they will hold daily events to discuss Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s settlement policies.

Throughout the day Palestinian activists used social media to photograph and provide updates of the status of their new village and run-in with the Israeli Border Police. They also made a live-stream account where viewers can log in to watch in real time.

The first tents are set

First Friday prayer in Bab al-Shams, Palestine January 11, 2013. Photo by ActiveStills

First flag set in the new Palestinian village of Bab al-Shams January 11, 2013. Photo by Abir Kopty/Twitter

Israel’s plans to construct in E1 include 4,000 new housing units and an additional 1,000 hotel rooms. The settlement expansion was announced as a punitive measure after the Palestinian United Nations non-member observer bid last November, sparking outcry from Palestinians and the international community.

Making tea Bab al-Shams, new Palestinian village on the hilltops overlooking Jerusalem. (Photo: @Tweet_Palestine/Twitter)

First Friday prayer in the newly created village of Bab al-Shams, Palestine January 11, 2013. (Photo: ActiveStills)

First flag set in the new Palestinian village of Bab al-Shams January 11, 2013. (Photo: Abir Kopty/Twitter)

Israel’s plans to construct in E1 include 4,000 new housing units and an additional 1,000 hotel rooms. The settlement expansion was announced as a punitive measure after the Palestinian United Nations non-member observer bid last November, sparking outcry from Palestinians and the international community.

Erecting the Palestinian flag at Bab al-Shams January 11. Photo by ActiveStills

Palestinians build ‘settlement’ near Jerusalem, receive eviction orders from Border Police

By Haggai Matar, +972
January 11, 2013

In response to the Israeli government’s plans to build 4,000 housing units for Jewish settlers in the E1 area, Palestinians set up a new tent village called Bab Al-Shams (Gate of the Sun). Police attempts to dismantle the new village were thwarted by a temporary warrant issued by the High Court of Justice.

Some 250 Palestinians, organized in part by the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee and activists from several villages in struggle against the wall and settlements, arrived at the area known by Israel as E1 early this morning, and started work on their new village. Activists state that the village is built entirely on private lands owned by Palestinians from the nearby town of Al-Tur.”This is a popular response to Israel’s plan to expand its settlements, especially in this area,” Muhammad Khatib of the Bil’in Popular Committee told +972.

Border police arrive with eviction notice. Photo by: Oren Ziv/

Not long after the tents were set up, Border Police and Civil Administration forces arrived at the scene and handed out eviction notices to residences of the new outpost-village, threatening to return and demolish the erected tents shortly. Prepared in advance for such an occasion, activists petitioned against the demolitions to the High Court, which then issued a warrant delaying any eviction or demolition for six days.

Palestinians building the Bab Al-Shams tent city in the E1 area between Jerusalem and the West Bank, January 11, 2013. Photo by Activestills

Israeli plans for construction in E1 as a response to success of the Palestinian UN bid (and partly as a message for voters in the upcoming elections) attracted much worldwide criticism, including from the United States. For the activists, this is a popular and direct response to Israeli attempts at annexing the corridor between Jerusalem and Ma’ale Adumim.

The new village is named “Bab Al-Shams,” after the landmark book by Elias Khoury, which depicts the life of a Palestinian refugee in Lebanon who insists on returning to his home in the Galilee, where he manages to meet his wife in a secret cave called “Bab Al-Shams.”

Israel orders Palestinians out of ‘tent city’

Activists defy Civil Administration’s request to leave contested West Bank “outpost” on land designated for settlements.

By Al Jazeera
January 12, 2013

The Israeli Civil Administration has given Palestinian activists an ultimatum to quit a protest camp in part of the occupied West Bank where Israel has vowed to build new settler homes.

As Palestinian politicians and others visited the site on Saturday in a show of support, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu issued a statement affirming his military’s order and asking that the “High Court of Justice rescind the injunction that it had issued and which is delaying the evacuation”.

The statement also declared the “closure of access roads to the area in order to prevent gatherings”.

More than 200 activists erected the 20-tent “outpost” on Friday in the sensitive West Bank corridor east of Jerusalem where Palestinians say Israeli settlement construction would make the creation of a viable Palestinian state highly problematic.

The protesters modelled their action on the wildcat outposts set up by Israeli settler activists on Palestinian land in a bid to force the government’s hand into authorising settlement activity.

“Members of the Israeli Civil Administration told us this morning that we have one hour to evacuate the site,” one of the organisers, Abir Kopty, told the AFP news agency.

“We have no intention of leaving of our own accord,” she said, adding that the Israeli authorities had declared the area a “closed military zone” and demanded that the activists leave, but had made no demand for the tents to be taken down.

‘Highly creative’ action
The Israeli military administration had issued previous expulsion orders against the activists but late on Friday they successfully petitioned the Israeli supreme court for the orders to be frozen.

Late on Saturday morning, Israeli security forces were deployed near the camp and a police helicopter hovered overhead.

“The supreme court gave them six days as of yesterday,” said Al Jazeera’s Jane Ferguson, reporting from the outpost.

“However, people say they’re going to stay until the military forcibly moves them out,” our correspondent said. “That could happen in the next few hours or over the next few days.”

More than 50 more activists managed to reach the camp from the West Bank city of Ramallah to join the activists and others were trying to do so from the city of Hebron, organisers said on Twitter.

Palestinian politicians, including member of parliament Mustafa Barghouti, also made solidarity visits to the protest camp, where activists were recovering from a freezing night under canvas amid the cold snap gripping the Middle East.

PLO negotiator Saeb Erekat said soldiers prevented him from joining the protest on Saturday and told him to turn back to Ramallah, just down the hill from the camp.

The protest outpost, dubbed Bab al-Shams (Gate of the Sun in Arabic), was welcomed on Friday by a senior Palestinian official who described it as a “highly creative and legitimate non-violent” way of protecting Palestinian land from Israeli settlement activity.

The camp lies between annexed East Jerusalem and the Israeli settlement of Maale Adumim.

The international community regards all Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian land as illegal.

The Israeli government makes a distinction between those which it has authorised and those it has not, and sometimes takes action against the latter.

Hundreds of Bedouins take part in Bab Ashams sit-in in east J’lem

By Palestine Information Centre
January 12, 2013

OCCUPIED JERUSALEM)– Hundreds of Palestinians from the Bedouin communities of occupied Jerusalem and Sawahreh area participated in a sit-in on Friday morning to protest Israel’s intended annexation of their lands.

These lands are called Zaneba by the Palestinians and many Bedouin families from the Sawahreh Arabs have been living there for more than 80 years.
Activists built a camp of 30 tents in the area and named it Bab Ashams (Gate of the Sun) village to stage a sit-in against the Israeli annexation plan.
The Israeli government decided to build 4,000 settlement units on these lands as part of its E1 project, which is aimed at connecting the Israeli settlements in Jerusalem with Maale Adumim settlement and separating east Jerusalem from the West Bank.

A few hours after the establishment of Bab Ashams village, the Israeli army on Friday issued orders to evacuate the camp immediately, although the Israeli higher court prevented its evacuation before six days.

In a related incident, the Israeli occupation forces (IOF) on Saturday afternoon besieged Bab Ashams village and closed all entrances leading to its camp that is located east of Jerusalem.

The IOF declared the village or the camp a closed military area and prevented activists and Bedouins of nearby villages from entering the area, according to eyewitnesses.

Court bars State from evicting Palestinian outpost

High Court issues temporary injunction meant to prevent state from ejecting Palestinian protesters from encampment set up in West Bank’s E1 area

By Elior Levy, Ynet news
January 12, 2013

The High Court of Justice has issued a temporary injunction barring the State from removing an outpost erected by Palestinians in the West Bank as long as there isn’t an emergency warranting an evacuation.

Government officials were expected to petition the court on Saturday evening to void the injunction. In the meantime, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the routes leading up to the outpost to be closed to traffic, rendering the area a closed military zone.

Earlier in the day, the government ordered the leaders of the Bab al-Shams outpost, which was set up in the disputed E1 area, near Ma’aleh Adumim, to immediately vacate the premises.

A group of 200 Palestinians, backed by foreign activists, created the encampment, whose name means “Gate of the Sun,” in the early hours of Friday morning.

Mahmoud Zawara, of the Popular Palestinian Committees, told Ynet that the 30-tent outpost was being set up as part of the “Palestinian struggle” against Israel’s planned construction in the area.

“Members of the Israeli Civil Administration in the West Bank told us this morning that we had an hour to evacuate,” one of the organizers, Abir Copty, said Saturday. “We did not want to leave ourselves,” she added.

Israeli security forces were called to the area Saturday morning to ensure the eviction order was carried out before the High Court granted the Palestinians’ petition to block the measure.

Passive resistance
According to Palestinian sources, the people in the encampment were told that they must vacate the area – but can leave their tents in place.

The outpost’s leaders said that if Israeli security forces make them leave, they will do so with only passive resistance.

The Palestinian encampment was meant to be a replica on Jewish ones erected across the West Bank. Its creation was lauded by Palestinian leaders, including Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.

Palestinian leaders, including Mustafa Barghouti, member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, visited the campers in the morning. Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat told AFP that the Israeli army stopped him from arriving at the outpost.

About 100 Palestinians activists arrived at the outpost in the afternoon from Ramallah with blankets, food and water for those who stayed the night.

“We, the Palestinians are still pessimistic but this initiative gives us reason to be optimistic,” activist Jhassan Omar, 27, from Ramallah, said. “This is a new type of resistance.”

Israel’s construction plans for the area have been slammed by the international community. The Palestinian Authority says any Israeli building in the area will essentially split it into two and prevent the formation of a Palestinian state.

You can contact Elior Levy, Ynet’s Palestinian Affairs Correspondent, at:

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