Friday, 18 January 2013

Palestinians erect second outpost near Jerusalem

Activist set up new tent city northwest of J'lem in protest of settlement building plans after IDF demolish Bab al-Shams in E1.

Palestinian activists erected a new tent outpost northwest of Jerusalem on Friday, in protest of Israeli settlement construction plans in the area, according to Palestinian news agency Ma'an. The outpost was the second of its kind in as many weeks, and could mark a new form of Palestinian protest against Israeli settlement construction in the West Bank.

"The idea of building this village extension is to protect [Palestinian] legally owned lands and [for it] to be the second such village built to protect from growing efforts at transforming Arab Jerusalem," said Mr. Kamal Hababa, who heads the Beit Iksa village council.

Locals told Ma'an that around 400 Palestinians arrived in the area, located between Beit Iksa and Lifta. They called their outpost al-Karamah, meaning (Dignity.) The IDF disputed the size of the movement, saying that "dozens" had arrived and erected only one large tent.

Ma'an quoted witnesses as saying that Israeli security personnel shut the checkpoint at the entrance to Beit Iksa to prevent additional activists from arriving at the area. The IDF denied the report, saying that the checkpoint had not been closed and that entrance to Beit Iksa remains open.

"The IDF is closely monitoring further developments in the area," the IDF Spokesman's Unit stated.

The Palestinian move came just days after Israeli security forces bulldozed the Bab al-Shams encampment, erected by Palestinians on an undeveloped area in the Ma’aleh Adumim settlement, known as E1. The activists had been targeting E1 to protest Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s November 30 decision to advance plans to build 3,500 Jewish homes on the site.

Abir Kopty, a spokeswoman for the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee, warned that the creation of the Bab Al-Shams would inspire Palestinians around the world.
“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,” the NGO said.

Earlier this week, Netanyahu said he would not tolerate Palestinian outpost building. “As soon as I was updated on the Palestinian gathering, I ordered its immediate evacuation and it was indeed carried out last night in the best possible manner,” he said of the Bab al-Shams encampment.

No comments: