Saturday, January 12, 2013


Dear friends,
in the last hour, Israeli Occupation Forces have brutally attacked Bab Al Shams, in violation of its own High Court injunction against removing the tent village established by more than 250 Palestinian activists on Friday, 11 January.  The village was established on privately owned Palestinian land with the permission of the owners. The land is located in the Occupied West Bank/Occupied East Jerusalem corridor known by Israel as "E1". 

Al Jazeera report, 12 January 2013

Activists in Bab Al Shams have reported over 1000 Israeli Occupation Forces attacked the village, cutting electricity (it is current winter in Palestine with temperatures dropping below zero) and brutally beating  village, beating inhabitants, journalists and medics.   Amongst those attacked were Palestinian politician, Mustafa Barghouti. All in violation of an injunction issued by the Israeli High Court.  

Statement from Netanyahu's Office acknowledging PM ordered police to act contrary to High Court injunction. Photo courtesy of Jared Malsin (via twitter)

Above and Below: IOF attacking Palestinian activists at Bab Al Shams (Photo courtesy of Bab Al Shams)

IOF attack on Bab Al Shams - photo courtesy of Gaza Youth Breaks Out

In the hours before attacking the village, the IOF had cut of all road access to the village and had beaten anyone attempting to get to the village. 

Israeli Occupation Forces beating Palestinian man attempting to reach Bab Al Shams 
(photo via Bab Al Shams Facebook)

However, hundreds of Palestinians, determined to join with those already at Bab Al Shams, made their way to the village by trekking through the mountains.

Palestinians marching into Bab Al Shams after trekking through mountains
Photo by Yotam Ronen, Activestills

Bab Al Shams activists report that they have since been loaded onto buses and trucks, many have had their phones and cameras confiscated. Some have been dumped at Qalandia checkpoint near Ramallah, others have been taken to an illegal Israeli colony for arrest.  

Before the IOF's assault on the village, Palestinian activistm and one of the organisers of Bab Al Shams told Maan News Agency that the activists were determined to resist expulsion saying:

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 neighbouring 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. 

On the second day of the establishment of Bab al Shams, the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee issued the following statement as Israeli Occupation Forces prepared to attack the village:
Palestinian village of Bab Al Shams remains steadfast: In the face of blatant eviction threats by Netanyahu and under Israeli army siege, the village of Bab Alshams continues to stand bold 
Israeli army and police have been laying siege to the newly founded Palestinian village of Bab Alshams since earlier today, blocking all roads leading to. The area has been declared a closed military zone. The village was inaugurated yesterday on Palestinian land, East of Jerusalem, in an area referred to by Israel as E1, and designated for the expansion of Ma’ale Edomim settlement. 
Despite the siege, roughly a hundred supporters from across Palestine managed to reach the village, trekking through rocky terrain. Earlier today, Abdallah Abu 
Rahmah of the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee said, "Israel has been defying international law for decades by building illegal settlements on stolen land and demolishing Palestinian homes. We are here to say that Israeli impunity must end. We have the right to build and live on our own land”.
This morning the residents of the village where notified by Israeli police that they will be evicted despite an injunction issued by the Israeli High Court, prohibiting demolition of the village for six days. The officers informed residents that the injunction only forbids the removal of village structures, not their inhabitants. Despite this statement, Israeli government has appealed to the court to revoke the injunction. As growing numbers of Israeli forces amass in the vicinity of the village, seemingly preparing to carry out an eviction, the residents of Bab Alshams stand firm in their resolution to hold on to the land. 
Meanwhile, Israeli soldiers prevented Palestinian legislators Hannan Ashrawi, Saeb Arekat and Ahmed Majdalani from reaching the village and confiscated Majdalani's VIP card. 
Famed Lebanese writer, Elias Khury, author of the epic novel Bab Alshams after which the village is named, phoned the residents earlier today to express his support. "You have revived Bab Alshams", he said, "I wish I were there with you."

Palestinian activists have stated that Bab Al Shams is just the first such action of this sort and that more similar  actions directly challenge Israel's illegal colonies and settlement built will take place.

I will post more information about the arrests and conditions of the activists as they come to hand.

In solidarity, Kim 

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