Saturday, January 12, 2013

Bab al Shams, turnabout is fair play

Palestinian activists have set up their own "settlement" in the West Bank area known as "E1." Israel had announced its intention to build more illegal colonies on this land to consolidate and extend its stealing of Palestinian land east of Jerusalem. Unlike the Israeli government sponsored settlements, Bab al Shams is actually legal and involves the legitimate inhabitants of the region. --RC

By Haggai Matar
|Published January 12, 2013
Army closes in on Palestinian outpost, activists promise to resist evacuation

Less than two days after the new Palestinian outpost-village, Bab Al-Shams, was set up in the E1 area outside Jerusalem, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered authorities to evict the activists and dismantle the tents.

Following Netanyahu’s order, police forces arrived on the scene and told activists that the High Court warrant actually only protects the tents from dismantling, but does not forbid eviction of their residents. The activists, who were warned to leave before force would be used against them, vowed to stay put, stating that they would resist eviction non-violently. The state is also expected to ask the High Court to reconsider its temporary warrant, on the premise that the land where Bab Al-Shams was erected is privately owned by Palestinians, and that the village is meant to serve as a tourist attraction which teaches visitors about Bedouin culture. The court is likely to look into the case tomorrow.

Furthermore, journalists have been barred from entering Bab Al-Shams by Israeli security forces. Haaretz is planning to appeal the decision to the High Court of Justice.

Bab Al-Shams has been at the center of the news in Israel– an event which is quite out of the ordinary considering the Israeli media’s treatment of Palestinian popular non-violent resistance. Netanyahu’s swift call to action on the matter has also gained much attention, and has been described by critics as racist due to the government’s ongoing support for settlement building.

Facebook persona John Brown has illustrated the bias inherent to Israel’s official policy by posting [a] picture, with following caption: ”Today: PM orders to evict the Palestinian outpost in E1. Tuesday: PM visits illegal ‘Rachelim’ outpost after legalizing it to compensate settlers for another theft gone wrong.”

At around 10:00 p.m. security forces were reportedly assembling outside Bab Al-Shams. Activists fear a nightly attack.

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