Israel declares Bab al Shams a "closed military zone"; residents vow to remain

17:00 Jan 12 2013 Bab al Shams, E1 area near Jerusalem

Israel declares Bab al Shams a "closed military zone"; residents vow to remain Israel declares Bab al Shams a "closed military zone"; residents vow to remain
The Palestinian tent camp in E-1, Jan. 12, 2013. Photo by Olivier Fitoussi

The owners of the land where #BabAlShams stands showing the deeds of ownership #E1 #settlement #jerusalem

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces moved to shut down protest tents in the E1 area of East Jerusalem on Saturday as Palestinian activists vowed to remain on the land.

Israel's military handed evacuation orders to activists in the Bab al-Shams, or 'Gate of the Sun', protest village on Saturday, stating that the military intends to move protestors by force, local activist Abdullah Abu Rahma said.

Israel's military has also prevented activists from neighboring areas access to the protest village since Friday.

"We only have our determination, and it will not be easy to expel us from our homes. We will use our experience and skills to remain on the land," Abu Rahma said.

Palestinian activists erected over 25 tents and a medical center in the E1 area of East Jerusalem on Friday to protest Israeli settlement plans and protect Palestinian land from annexation.

Senior Fatah official Saeb Erekat said during a meeting Saturday that the Bab al-Shams protest movement is attempting to save the two-state solution at a time when Israel is determined to build settlements and undermine the very principles of two states.

PLO leader Hanan Ashrawi also praised the activists for their "highly creative and legitimate non-violent tool" to protect Palestinian land, saying she fully supported and encouraged non-violent popular resistance against Israeli occupation.

"What is happening at Bab al-Shams is a reminder of the apartheid regime that Israel has imposed for the exclusive use of land for Jewish Israeli settlers all over Palestine," Ashrawi added.

Abu Rahma told Ma'an on Saturday that it would take at least 800 Israeli soldiers to remove the 200 or so activists from the site, adding that activists would try to remain steadfast.


Netanyahu to ask High Court to allow eviction of Palestinian E-1 tent camp

Israel declares Palestinian outpost a closed military zone, will ask High Court of Justice to cancel a temporary injunction preventing eviction of some 200 Palestinians and international activists from the site.

By Barak Ravid and Chaim Levinson for Haaretz

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Saturday ordered Israel's security forces to evacuate a tent camp set up by hundreds of Palestinians in the E-1 area, east of Jerusalem.

Netanyahu's decision contradicted a temporary injunction ordered by Israel's High Court on Saturday preventing the state from evicting the Palestinians from the outpost.

The Prime Minister's Bureau said in a statement released on Saturday that the state would submit a request to the High Court that night asking it to cancel the injunction.

According to the statement, Netanyahu has ordered that the site be declared a closed military zone and that all access roads leading to the site of the tent camp be closed by security forces until the High Court decides on the matter, in order to prevent additional people from gathering at the site.

Some 200 Palestinians and international peace activists set up the tent camp on Friday morning, giving it the name "Bab al-Shams."

On Saturday, Israel Police kept additional activists from reaching the site. Police also prevented senior Palestinian officials Saeb Erakat and Hanan Ashrawi from visiting the area.

The tent camp was erected on Friday morning in protest against continuing Israeli construction in the West Bank and in East Jerusalem, and against plans to build a controversial new settlement in the E-1 corridor.

Israel has long sought to build a new settlement on the site, but the plans were frozen until recently. Following the Palestinian Authority's successful bid to upgrade its status at the United Nations in November, Israel decided to move forward with the plans, drawing a wave of international criticism.

On Friday, the IDF's Civil Administration served the camp with an eviction order, saying it was built on state lands.

In response, four Bedouin families from the area, who claim they own the land, petitioned the High Court requesting that it prevent the eviction. In their petition, the families claimed the tents were part of a "tourism initiative" focusing on the Bedouin heritage and lifestyle.

On Saturday morning, police arrived at the site, telling activists that they must leave or be removed by force. The police claimed that the court injunction prevents them from removing the tents, but does not prevent the removal of the people from the site.
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