Sunday, January 13, 2013
Israeli forces evacuate Palestinian 'settlement' Bab al-Shams at the orders of Bibi Netayahu
This was Bab al-Shams on Saturday night.
The residents of the Palestinian outpost Bab al-Shams in area E1 were evicted early Sunday morning, but their tents were left standing, in line with a temporary injunction of Israel's Supreme Court. The Palestinians received an eviction order Friday, immediately after the the 'settlement' had been built up. But - in a gesture that had been copied from the Jewish settlers - they petitioned the Supreme Court against the eviction.
The judge gave a injunction in which he barred the eviction for six days in order to give the plaintiffs time to prove that they own the land, which belonged to one of the Arab villages that Israel included in the Greater Jerusalem area it created after 1967.
Prime Minister Netanyahu, however, did not want to permit the village to stay there that long. His office said in a statement on Saturday that the government was petitioning the court to retract its ruling on the outpost, and had instructed security forces to block off roads leading to the rocky desert terrain. As a consequence the court granted the state the right to evict the Palestinians, but not to remove the tents, that can stay till the end of the six day period. And a couple of hours later, at 2.30 a.m., Israeli police and border guard officers entered the compound and told a crowd of around 100 to leave the tents that were erected a day earlier. Those protesters who refused to leave were carried down the hill by Israeli officers and detained, but were not jailed. Israeli police vans took them to the West Bank town of Ramallah.
The Bab al-Shams settlement (the name was taken from a novel by Lebanese writer Elias Khoury which is about Palestinian refugees in Lebanon) was a attempt by the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee, the committee that among other things coordinates the struggle against the construction of the Wall, to give a new impulse to the resistance against Israel's settlement activities. The tent village was set up in the area that Israel calls E1, between Jerusalem and the big settlement of Ma'ale Adumim. After the recent decision of the General Assembly of the United Nations to grant the status of observer to the State of Palestinian state, Israel decided to start building in this area, a move it postponed for several years due to objections of the US ad Europe among others, as it will effectively cut the West Bank in two.
The Bab al-Shams adventure was a gesture of the non-violent popular Palestinian struggle of a kind that makes one hopeful, as it is a splendid way to demonstrate the discrepancy between perceived Jewish rights ad the total absence of Palestinian ones. Nothing shows more clearly that settlement of Palestinian lands is only permissible for Jews. Netanyahu's quick response makes clear - if anything - that there is nothing that the present Israeli government is more afraid of than Palestinians who claim their rights in a non-violent way.