“I turn with admiration to the masses of our heroic Palestinian people, to our Palestinian leadership, to all forces, parties and national institutions. I salute them for standing by our fight to defend our right to freedom and dignity.
I draw my strength from my people, from all the free people in the world, from friends and the families of the prisoners who continue day and night chanting for freedom and an end to the occupation.
My health has deteriorated dramatically and I’m hung between life and death. My weak body is collapsing but still able to be patient and continue the confrontation. My message is that I will continue until the end, until the last drop of water in my body, until martyrdom. Martyrdom is an honor for me in this battle. My martyrdom is my remaining bomb in the confrontation with the tyrants and the jailers, in the face of the racist policy of the occupation that humiliates our people and exercises against us all means of oppression and repression.
I say to my people: I’m stronger than the occupation army and its racist laws. I, Samer al-Issawi, son of Jerusalem, send you my last will that, in case I fell as a martyr, you will carry my soul as a cry for all the prisoners, man and women, cry for freedom, emancipation and salvation from the nightmare of prisons and their harsh darkness.
My battle is not only for individual freedom. The battle waged by me and by my heroic colleagues, Tariq, Ayman and Ja’affar, is everyone’s battle, the battle of the Palestinian people against the occupation and its prisons. Our goal is to be free and sovereign in our liberated state and in our blessed Jerusalem.
The weak and strained beats of my heart derive their steadfastness from you, the great people. My eyes, which started to lose their sight, draws light from your solidarity and your support of me. My weak voice takes its strength from your voice that is louder than the warden’s voice and higher than the walls.
I’m one of your sons, among thousands of your sons who are prisoners, still languishing steadfast in the prisons, waiting for an end to be brought to their plight, their pains and the suffering of their families.
The doctors told me I became exposed to stroke because of the disorder of my heartbeats, the shortage of sugar and the drop in blood pressure. My body is full of cold and I can’t sleep because of the continued pain. But despite the extreme fatigue and chronic headaches, as I move on my chair, I’m trying to summon all my resources to continue on the road till its end. There is no going back, only in my victory, because I’m the owner of Right and my detention is invalid and illegal.
Do not be afraid for my heart if it will stop, don’t be afraid for my hands if they will be paralyzed. I am still alive now and tomorrow and after death, because Jerusalem is moving in my blood, in my devotion and my faith.”
**Via Rona Merrill, Neta Golan
- Shireen Al-Issawi: PA did not take prisoners’ issue to the UN (alethonews.wordpress.com)
For the third day in a row, Israeli bulldozers are demolishing historic arches and facades of Islamic buildings dating back to the Mamluk and Ottoman eras on the north side of Buraq Square. The site lies just 50 metres from the Noble Sanctuary of Al-Aqsa.
Details of the architectural vandalism by the Israeli occupation authorities were provided by Al-Aqsa Foundation for Religious Endowments and Heritage in a press statement. The Israeli demolition work is a prelude to the establishment of a centre promoting the state’s Judaisation policies in the occupied Palestinian territories. The buildings in question formed part of the Moroccan Quarter of the Old City, which was demolished by the Israelis in 1967 at the start of the occupation of Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
The foundation said that it will use exclusive maps and documents to show how the Israelis plan to establish a synagogue, a police station, a reception area and show rooms on the site, all of which will be linked to tunnels under Al-Aqsa Mosque. A press conference will be held on Sunday for that purpose which will be attended by the head of the Islamic movement in Israel, Sheikh Raed Salah. Among the other speakers will be the Chairman of the Islamic Supreme Council and the Imam of Al Aqsa Mosque, Dr Sheikh Ikrima Sabri, and Hatem Abdel Qader, who deals with the Jerusalem file for Fatah, as well as the foundation’s director, Amir Khatib.
According to the documents held by Al-Aqsa Foundation, the development will necessitate the destruction of noted Islamic landmarks. It is worth noting that the State of Israel pledged in its Declaration of Independence that it “will safeguard the Holy Places of all religions; and it will be faithful to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations”. The State of Israel regularly breaks both pledges with apparent impunity.
- Palestine: Occupation continues to falsify al-Aqsa’s history, protest villages continue & violations against Gaza’a fishermen (realisticbird.wordpress.com)
- Palestine: Hundreds of Israelis storm Nabi Yusuf tomb, part of Buraq Square destroyed, a crime against Al Aqsa & demolitions (realisticbird.wordpress.com)
RAMALLAH — The Israeli Occupation Authorities (IOA) demolished 465 Palestinian buildings and established 482 outposts in the West Bank and the occupied city of Jerusalem during the last year, a Palestinian official statistical report documented.
The PA Ministry for Settlement and Wall Affairs stated in its report issued on Sunday that the occupation authorities have set up over the past year 185 settlements and 175 outposts, in addition to another 29 settlement sites.
The report pointed out that the Israeli authorities completed 444 kilometers of a total 757 kilometers currently under construction of the Apartheid Wall that will isolate 10.2 per cent of the occupied West Bank.
The report documented that 465 Palestinian facilities were demolished during the last year concentrated mainly in al-Khalil, Jerusalem and the Jordan Valley, pointing out to 728 demolition orders concentrated in al-Khalil and Jerusalem.
The report revealed new Israeli ways to confiscate Palestinian territories, where IOA began issuing decisions to confiscate isolated lands behind the separation wall such as those within the city of Jerusalem to the north of Bethlehem.
- Israeli occupation authorities halt entry of West Bankers to 1948 occupied Palestine (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Israeli occupation forces kill 7 Palestinians, arrest 300 others during January (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Israeli Soldiers Attack, Evict, Bab Al-Shams, Arrest Dozens (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Palestine: Teen shot, demolition, new outpost north of Qalqilia & warning of scheme to displace 30,000 (realisticbird.wordpress.com)
In a film that was produced by the Israeli Foreign Ministry, and was banned from being officially published, Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister, Danny Ayalon, is seen standing and speaking in various areas of Jerusalem, including in front of the Dome Of The Rock, where in the film, it disappears and is replaced by Jewish temple.
The film, “The Fact About Jerusalem”, is meant, from an Israeli point view, to encourage tourism and portray harmony, but at the same time is meant to show the sole Jewish history of the holy city, while Ayalon also claims that the film “is about freedom of religion of the three faiths – Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
The Israeli source, Yedioth Aharonoth, said that the film includes provocative content and was not published due to fear of causing anger among the Muslims, not only in Palestine, but around the world.
Ayalon “stars” in the movie by appearing at different areas of occupied Jerusalem, showing its history, advanced technology, public transportation systems, and also appears standing in front of the Dome of the Rock before it disappears and is digitally transformed into a temple.
Yet, he talks about “diversity” and “harmony” in the Holy City, “in a Jerusalem that is shared not divided”.
The Foreign Ministry said that the film is about “facts”, different “facts” from its point of view about Jerusalem, the West Bank and the peace process.
The film was also translated to various languages attracting attention of millions of viewers around the world.
Despite the fact that the film was banned from being officially published, Ayalon uploaded it onto his own YouTube Channel.
Ayalon said that the film is about history and about what he called religious freedom, describing it as being produced to show what he described as the “freedom of religion to followers of the three faiths in the region”.
Palestinians denounced the film dubbing it as part of the ongoing Israeli attempts to void the Arab and Islamic history, culture and archeology.
Despite his claims of diversity and sharing the city of “the united not divided” Jerusalem, Israel prevents millions of Arab Muslims and Christians, from entering the city to pray at their holy sites or to tour the city.
- Knesset candidate calls for bombing Aqsa Mosque’s Dome of the Rock (alethonews.wordpress.com)
On Wednesday 23rd of January I with other members of our group had the pleasure and honour to meet Mahmoud Sarsak in our appartment. He is a slight, quietly spoken young man, with a gentle manner and his good humour and patience with our questioning betray none of the pain he has suffered over the last 3 and a half years. When he begins to speak about his experience of imprisonment he tells his story with a matter of fact, quiet sincerity that is striking and makes the horror of his experience all the more shocking.
Mahmoud was 21 years old, at the start of a playing career which had already seen him being recognised as one of the best young prospects in Palestine, already a regular for the Palestinian National side. He had an invitation to play for a football team in Nablus in the West Bank. This meant that he had to ask for permission from the Israelis to cross from Gaza through Erez crossing into Israel in order to travel on to the West Bank. This did not worry him as it was a trip he had already done twice before and when he recieved his permission he went to the crossing looking forward to the opportunity of playing in Nablus. However when he got to Erez at 9am on the 22nd July 2009 his whole world changed, instead of being allowed to cross he was arrested and taken to a Police Station, from here his family were called and informed that he was being taken to Ashkelon Jail.
He was made to take off his clothes and change into overalls, an ‘under investigation uniform’. He describes how for the first 18 days he was tied to a chair with his eyes covered, the only times he was untied was when he was given food and they untied his hands or when he was allowed to go to the toilet when his legs were untied. He explains that during this time he was kept awake, not fed properly and questioned daily, every 4 days he was taken to a court where a judge gave permission for him to be held for a further 4 days. This treatment he says ‘wasn’t so bad’ in comparison with what was to come although I think that most people would call it torture.
At the end of that 18 days he was taken to a Military Jail in the South where he was kept for 6 days and his treatment became much worse. He was beaten regularly and was put in what he described as a fridge, he also had very hot and very cold water put under his feet. During all of this time in both places he was questioned, his interrogators were wanting him to say that he had been involved in ‘activities against Israel’. He didn’t understand what they meant by this, he was a footballer, he had not been involved in anything else and so refused to make things up to make his interrogators happy. He had no idea why he had been arrested.
At the end of these 6 days he was taken back to a civilian jail for another 11 days where suddenly things got much better. He was fed and allowed to sleep properly, his captors became very friendly offering him his freedom, a new house, a salary, a car, access to proper training facilities to help his playing career and foreign travel. All he had to do was become a collaborator. He refused, which provoked many serious threats from his Israeli interrogators. They told him that they would burn his family home down, attack his family and kill his brothers. Despite the pressures upon him and his ordeal so far, he continued to refuse to collaborate.
Except for short visits to court when his lawyer was present, during this initial 35 days of incarceration he had absolutely no contact with anyone but his jailors and interrogators. His lawyer told him that he was going to be all right, the court had said he was going to be released. Instead he was told by a Military Officer that he was now being held under ‘The Law of An Illegal Fighter’ and that they no longer needed to go to court to ask permission to keep him. He was then taken to Kitseot Jail near Bersheva where at least he could see other prisoners and his time of interrogation was over. He asked the other prisoners what this ‘Law of an Illegal Fighter’ meant but none of them had ever heard of it. When he was finally allowed access to his lawyer and was able to ask him he was told that it was a law that the Israeli authorities use when they have nothing against you but they want to hold onto you. He then asked his lawyer what rights he had under this law and was told that he had none, he could now be held in jail for as long as the Israeli Military wanted to keep him.
Mahmoud was the first Palestinian who had been held under this law, the only other people he knows of who had previously been held under it were 2 Hizbollah members from Lebanon who were arrested in 1982. He thinks that because he had no rights he was put in a cell which was 2m x 1m for his time in Kitseot, this cell had only a matress and toilet in it and he developed chest, skin and back problems while there. He was not taken to a hospital while there, and was only seen briefly by a prison doctor for these problems. He was allowed out of his cell for 1 hour a day for exercise with his fellow prisoners when he played football with them.
On the 22nd of February 2010 Mahmoud was taken to Tel Aviv for a court hearing to extend his imprisonment and then to another court hearing for the decision in Jerusalem two weeks later. The journey to court and between jails is in what the prisoners call a ‘post bus’ which is metal bus with steel compartments in which you are jostled and hit off the steel walls. He knew before he was taken to the second hearing that he was going to be held for another six months. After this hearing he was also barred from playing football with his fellow prisoners for that precious hour in the mornings and was told that this was due to his back being too bad. At this time they also started to move him between prisons every 2 months and he was still taken to court every 6 months in order to have his stay in prison extended.
On the 23rd of August 2011 he was told that he was going to be released, he was happy and said goodbye to the other prisoners. He was taken by ‘post bus’ to Erez, his hands and legs were not tied as they usually were, the window was open and when he got there they opened the door of the prison van and the guards moved away talking among themselves. He stayed where he was as he didn’t know what was happening and he didn’t want to be shot if they thought he was trying to escape. He called to the guards to ask what was happening and they told him they were taking him back to jail, he wasn’t being released. He was taken to a different jail for 2 weeks with only the clothes he had on when they took him to Erez. He said that he was later told about another prisoner who had been taken to Erez and left in an open ‘post bus’ with his legs untied in the same way. He had gone to the door to look out and been instantly shot in the leg and accused of trying to escape. After this 2 week period he was taken back to the jail he had originally been in when first imprisoned, here his other clothes and small number of belongings were finally brought to him.
When he was taken to this jail he was given another 6 months but his lawyer was promised that he would be released when this time ended on the 23rd of February 2012. The 23rd of February came and went, 10 days after this he was taken back to court, he had decided that this time if he wasn’t released he would go on hunger strike and stay on hunger strike until they promised in writing that he would be released. So when he was told that he was going to be imprisoned for another 6 months he prepared himself for 10 days, eating less each day and gradually reducing his physical activity. On the 15th of March 2012 he started his hunger strike. He only took water and sometimes a little salt in order to prevent his stomach from beginning to rot.
7 days after he started they began to move him from jail to jail before putting him in Nafha Jail which meant he was put in with the Israeli criminal population. Then he was put into isolation for a spell followed by hospital in Bersheva for 2 days tied to his bed then back to Nafha. From here he was sent to Eshel jail where he was put in isolation again and became very sick. This time they wouldn’t take him to hospital but would only allow him to see the Doctor in Eshel. After 35 days of this the Doctor in Eshel refused to continue to be responsible for him and he was taken to the Prison hospital in Ramle jail where he was with another 5 Palestinian prisoners who were also on hunger strike. He refused treatment here and was put back into isolation, this time his isolation cell had no windows so he was in darkness. After 47 days on hunger strike he bagan to have serious problems with his stomach, he couldn’t even drink water without vomiting. First white then black then brown vomit. They took him back to Ramle Prison hospital then and gave him antibiotics.
Along with the other hunger strikers he was asked regularly to break his hunger strike, on the 15th of May he was told that if he would break his hunger strike he would be released on the 23rd of August and the other hunger strikers were also told that they would have their demands met if they broke theirs. 3 of them accepted but along with 1 of the others Akram Al Rihawy he refused, he had heard promises of release before and he insisted that he have the promise in writing signed by a senior Judge and a Minister from the Israeli Ministry of the Interior. He was also told that he would not be allowed to return to Gaza, he had to choose between Germany, France or Norway which he also refused to accept. At this time he finally began to get International Committee of the Red Cross visits twice a week and he was asked daily to break his hunger strike, he continued to refuse until he got it in writing that he would be released back to Gaza and that he would be properly monitored by a committee of doctors when he started eating again.
Eventually on the 18th of June 2012 on the 96th day of his hunger strike a Minister from the Israeli Ministry of the Interior came to see him with the signed paper that he had been asking for stating in writing that he would be released on the 20th of July 2012. The Minister asked him if he would now please give up his hunger strike and he agreed. The Minister asked him to drink a glass of milk in front of him so that he could confirm and report that he had indeed broken his hunger strike which he did alathough he immediately vomited this back up. His stomach couldn’t cope even with milk after such a long time with no more than water going into it. He said that even though his stomach rejected this cup of milk his whole body felt as though it had drunk and felt relieved.
For 14 days he had to build up to eating again with first intravenous vitamins and nutrition, followed by nutritional drinks, before finally eating his first bit of bread after this 14 day period, which he still vomited back up. During the time of his hunger strike he was only allowed 2 visits from his lawyer, on the 40th day and on the last day. I asked if he was allowed any visits from his family during his time in jail. He replied that because he was given no rights under the ‘Law of An Illegal fighter’ he was not only denied visits from family but was not even allowed the 6 monthly letters delivered to his fellow prisoners by the Red Cross. He wasn’t able to write to them either, not even one short note.
At no time during Mahmoud’s entire incarceration was he actually accused of anything other than being asked to admit to the vague term ‘activities against Israel’ and he was never charged with anything. He was very clear that he had no idea why he was arrested. He was a footballer. The court appearances he attended were simply formalities under Military Law which say that every 6 months any detention order must be renewed.
All Palestinians from the West Bank and Gaza who are arrested by Israel are dealt with under Military Law not Israeli Criminal Law and therefore it is not necessary for Israel to ever bring charges against them. Many who are prosecuted are those who have signed false confessions under torture and are not able to retract them afterwards. Mahmoud’s case was slightly worse than normal Military law, under which there are a few rights which at least give some protection in prison. Mahmoud had none of these rights under this so called ‘Law of an Illegal Fighter’ by which he was held.
I asked Mahmoud if he was back in training for football and if he thought that it would be possible for him to return to his playing career. He said that finally he had managed to attend 3 training sessions and was hoping to be able to return to the team at some point in the future once he was back to full fitness. I sincerely wish him luck with this and hope that he will reach that stage very soon.
This has to be one of the clearest examples of why the BDS (Boycott Divestment and Sanctions) campaign should be supported by everyone and why Israel should be barred from participating in International Sporting events. Currently the 2013 UEFA U-21 Championship is scheduled to be played in Israel. How can this be allowed when they can treat a Palestinian International Player like this? Not to mention that they bombed the only 2 football pitches in Gaza during Operation Pillar of Cloud as well as destroying many local playing areas in the West Bank over the years. I saw several during my visit there in 2004 including one in Ramallah which had been bulldozed.
Mahmoud told us that the other prisoner who had stayed on hunger strike with him, Akram Al Rihawy, had spent his whole sentence in hospital due to his medical problems. His reason for being on hunger strike was not for release but for proper medical treatment. He stopped his hunger strike after being told that he was going to be released on Wednesday the 23rd of January 2013. Yesterday, on the 25th of January 2013 we were told that he was not released as promised and that he is now back on hunger strike.
To join the campaign against Israel hosting the 2013 UEFA U-21 Championship go to the following link and get involved: http://redcardapartheid.weebly.com/
- Former mayor put in administrative detention (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Genocide by Proxy: Palestinian patient Salah Salluha dies at Erez due to prolonged security measures (occupiedpalestine.wordpress.com)
- Hundreds of Palestinians detained without evidence (occupiedpalestine.wordpress.com)
- Palestine: Documenting the torture of a boy in occupation jails, two wounded by shooting & East of Gaza flooded by Israelis (realisticbird.wordpress.com)
The Israeli Defense Ministry announced on Sunday that they will re-route a section of the Wall east of Jerusalem in order to close off an existing gap and fully annex the city of Jerusalem into Israel. The new route means the complete encirclement of the Palestinian village of Al-Zaim, with the Wall to the West and a security fence to the east.
Other Palestinian towns are also completely isolated and encircled into ghettoes, including the town of Sheikh Sa’ed and the city of Qalqilya. Israeli authorities isolated these towns in order to create Palestinian-free zones and routes throughout the West Bank to allow Israeli settlers to travel unencumbered without either having to stop at checkpoints or to drive on the same roads as Palestinians. But in order to do that, Israeli forces have had to maintain over 600 checkpoints throughout the West Bank, and to force Palestinians off their own roads and onto dirt roads or trails.
The new route of the Wall will put the settlement of Ma’ale Adumim on the Palestinian side of the Wall, along with dozens of other Israeli settlements constructed in violation of international law all over the West Bank. But Israeli officials have assured the residents of these settlements that they will construct other Walls and fences to allow them to access Jerusalem without having to go through Palestinian areas.
These additional fences and barriers will, like the Annexation Wall itself, be constructed on land seized from Palestinian owners by Israeli authorities who claim that they have the right to take the land ‘for security reasons’. All Israeli settlements on Palestinian land are considered illegal under international law and the Fourth Geneva Convention, which forbids an occupying military power from settling its civilian population on land occupied by military force.
The announcement is seen as a response to the Palestinian encampment Bab Al Shams, which was established on the land in question, known to Israeli officials as ‘E1′, last weekend, then demolished by Israeli forces. The Palestinian non-violent activists who established the encampment entered the area through the village of Al-Zaim.
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has openly declared his intention to build a settlement on the ‘E1′ land, and completely enclose the eastern edge of Jerusalem, thus effectively annexing the city of Jerusalem to the state of Israel. This renders any peace agreement with the Palestinian Authority impossible, since one of the Palestinian Authority’s base demands is sharing the city of Jerusalem. The base demands, which Palestinians have asked Israel to recognize time and again to no avail, are: the recognition of a Palestinian state with east Jerusalem as its capital, the right of return of Palestinian refugees and the release of the thousands of Palestinian political prisoners being held in Israeli prison camps.
- The long road to Bab al-Karama (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Israeli politician: Palestinian ghettos were always the plan (sott.net)
Bab al-Karama, Occupied Palestine – The road to Bab al-Karama, the new tent neighborhood created by Palestinians on land that will be separated from the village of Beit Iksa by the Apartheid wall, exposes a landscape of Apartheid.
Beir Naballah used to be a suburb of Jerusalem. Affluent Jerusalemites built their homes in Beir Naballah to escape from the housing crisis imposed on Palestinians by Jerusalem’s municipality housing polices. It sits on a road that connected the villages in the area with Jerusalem and continued on to Latrun. Now Beir Naballah is completely surrounded by an Israeli wall. The old road was widened and transformed into an Israeli highway called 443. The highway now connects Jerusalem to Tel Aviv and the Palestinian residents of the area are barred form using it. The Jerusalemite residents were forced to abandon their homes and many businesses dependent on clientele from Jerusalem have closed.
We exit Beir Naballah through a second tunnel that connects the Beir Naballah enclave to another enclave where 8 Palestinian villages are also isolated by Israeli walls. This tunnel is even more surreal than the first. Not only does it run under two Israeli only roads but as well as under the Apartheid wall and through the Givaat Zeev settlement bloc. High cement walls with razor wire on top of them hug the sides of the road.
We drive in Biddu and drive through the villages that had been since their creation connected to Al Quds but are now cut off from it and artificially connected to Ramallah. True to the Orwellian tradition of Israel’s military language they call the Palestinian network of roads they have built under their highways “fabric of life roads”. The landscape is beautiful and almost idyllic. Goats grazing on green hills, old stone houses…, but this ideal setting is surrounded by walls, gates and settlements.
The last village we reach, the one closest to Jerusalem is Beit Iksa. But to enter it we need to pass a military checkpoint. At the edge of the village we finally reach Bab al-Karama overlooking a network of Israeli highways and the city of Jerusalem. In the valley right below Bab al-Karama one can see two tunnels that will be connected by a bridge on which a fast track train connecting Jerusalem to Tel Aviv will run. The train will run on the village’s land but not only will the villagers be barred from accessing it, Israel’s Apartheid wall will be built between the village and the train separating the villagers from over 4500 dunams (60%) of their agricultural land. More than 1300 dunams had already been taken in the 70s for the construction of Ramot Allon settlement.
Checkpoint at the entrance of Beit Iksa
- ‘Gate of Dignity’ built on lands of Beit Iksa north of Jerusalem (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Army Invades Bab Al-Karama (imemc.org)
- Palestinians Establish a new Village, Bab Alshams, in Area E1 (alethonews.wordpress.com)
NAZARETH — A Knesset candidate from the Habayit Hayehudi (Jewish house) party called for blowing up the Aqsa Mosque’s Dome of the Rock and building the alleged Jewish temple in its place.
According to Hatnua, a rival party, Habayit Hayehudi’s candidate Jeremy Gimpel, publically discussed the destruction of the Dome of the Rock and its replacement with a Jewish temple, during a recent lecture he gave in Florida.
A video of the lecture was broadcast on the Israeli channel 2 on Friday. Gimpel is heard asking those attending the lecture to imagine a scenario in which the Dome of the Rock “was bombed” to make room for the alleged Jewish temple.
Hatnua party filed a petition with the central election committee to disqualify candidate Gimpel because his remarks on the Dome of the Rock could trigger widespread violence in the region.
In another incident, the Israeli newspaper Jerusalem said the Israeli municipal council issued last week demolition orders against two Palestinian Mosques in Tur town and Bab Al-Amoud neighborhood east of Jerusalem.
It added that that the orders were issued after Aryeh King, director of the Israel land fund and a noted right-wing figure, filed a complaint about the two Mosques.
The newspaper quoted Meir Margalit, head of the Israeli committee against house demolitions, as saying that this move is an attempt by the municipal council to ignite the middle east and please the Zionist right-wing forces and their supporters.
The Palestinian village of Beit Iksa overlooking Jerusalem just built a new village they called Bab Al-Karama (Gate of Dignity) on their land behind the apartheid wall that Israel has built on their land and call on Palestinians and Internationals to join them in their popular struggle to hold on to their lands.
The wall Israel is building on the village land would leave 96% of the village land inaccessible and behind the segregation wall.
Over the past 24 hours, the villagers built a mosque and set up 5 tents for dwelling on their land behind the wall.
The head of the Beit Iksa village council Mr. Kamal Hababa stated that idea of building this village extension is to protect their legally owned lands and to be the second such village built to protect from growing efforts at transforming Arab Jerusalem.
Already the threatened village land behind the wall is 7,411 dunums which amounts to half the total threatened lands of the eight Palestinian villages northwest of Jerusalem and 96% of the village land of Beit Iksa. Colonial Jewish only settlements built on Palestinian lands beyond the Green line in this area include Ramot, Neve Shmuel, Har Shmuel, and Givat Ze’ev.
The erection of Bab Al-Karama village comes shortly after Palestinian activists erected a village they called Bab Ashams to counter Israeli settlement construction in the area known as E1, located between Jerusalem and Jericho, which signals a new model in popular struggle against the ongoing expansion of the Israeli settlements in the West Bank.
Bab-Alshams, Occupied Palestine – Following the violent eviction of Bab-Alshams (gateway of the sun) on Sunday around a hundred Protestors returned to the land which the Israeli Occupation Forces call E1. After the acceptance of Palestine as a non-member state to the UN, Israel announced the approval of a plan to expand by building some 4,000 residential units in this area. Such construction would effectively bisect the West Bank, effectively cutting it off from Jerusalem.
The protestors arrived before 15:00 to the surprise of Israeli Police stationed in the area; two groups approached Bab-Alshams from different directions. As protestors moved up the hill Israeli Occupation Forces began to attack the demonstration initially with stun grenades.
Activist’s remained steadfast and refused to leave the land which is privately owned by Palestinians. Israeli police began to outnumber protestors and then began detaining Palestinians violently. Slowly Israeli forces managed to push activists down the hill.
Activists regrouped at the bottom of the hill, sat down and began to sing. The violence of the Israeli authorities then again increased, one women was beaten and suffered a head wound which required medical attention. At least two others were injured one male was bleeding heavily from the wrist, while others were being treated for shock.
At-least 10 people were arrested most of which have now been released. Some remain in detention including an ISM founder Neta Golan.
- Palestinians Establish a new Village, Bab Alshams, in Area E1 (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Palestinian Village of Bab Alshams Remains Steadfast (palsolidarity.org)
- Israeli Soldiers Attack, Evict, Bab Al-Shams, Arrest Dozens (alethonews.wordpress.com)
PSCC | January 11th, 2013
Bab Alshams, Occupied Palestine – 250 men and women from across Palestine establish this morning a new Palestinian village named “Bab Alshams” (Gate of the Sun). Tents were built in what Israel refers to as area E1 and equipment for long-term living was brought.
The group released the following statement:
We, the sons and daughters of Palestine from all throughout the land, announce the establishment of Bab Alshams Village (Gate of the Sun). We the people, without permits from the occupation, without permission from anyone, sit here today because this is our land and it is our right to inhabit it.
A few months ago the Israeli government announced its intention to build about 4000 settlement housing units in the area Israel refers to as E1. E1 block is an area of about 13 prayer in Bab AlShamssquare km that falls on confiscated Palestinian land East of Jerusalem between Ma’ale Adumim settlement, which lies on occupied West Bank Palestinian land, and Jerusalem. We will not remain silent as settlement expansion and confiscation of our land continues. Therefore we hereby establish the village of Bab Alshams to proclaim our faith in direct action and popular resistance. We declare that the village will stand steadfast until the owners of this land will get their right to build on their land.
The village’s name is taken from the novel, “Bab Alshams,” by Lebanese writer Elias Khoury. The book depicts the history of Palestine through a love story between a Palestinian man, Younis, and his wife Nahila. Younis leaves his wife to join the Palestinian resistance in Lebanon while Nahila remains steadfast in what remains of their village in the Galilee. Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, Younis smuggles through Lebanon and back to the Galilee to meet his wife in the “Bab Alshams” cave, where she gives birth to their children. Younis returns to the resistance in Lebanon as his wife remains in Bab Al Shams.
Bab Alshams is the gate to our freedom and steadfastness. Bab Alshams is our gate to Jerusalem. Bab Alshams is the gate to our to our return.
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. This action involving women and men from the north to the south is a form of popular resistance. In the coming days we will hold various discussion groups, educational and artistic presentations, as well as film screenings on the lands of this village. The residents of Bab Al Shams invite all the sons and daughters of our people to participate and join the village in supporting our resilience.
The Israeli government is to launch a wide-ranging campaign to boost the global image of Jewish settlers and bolster its illegal settlement policy in the occupied Palestinian territories. The move was announced by the Minister of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs, Yulu Edelstein.
The campaign will include direct and indirect media activities which target social networks across the world. The main aim is to create some degree of legitimacy to Israeli settlement activity in areas considered by Tel Aviv to be “disputed”, and counter anti-settlement activities which oppose settlers’ attacks on Palestinian lands carried out with open and tacit support from the Israeli government.
Edelstein claimed that the proactive campaign will cost around $250,000. He wants to “expose opinion-makers to the complex Israeli reality, thus improving Israel’s global image.”
In response, Israel’s Peace Now movement said that the government is wasting public funds.
“The government has turned into the Settler Council’s public relations firm, and is financing these endeavours with money from the pockets of Israeli taxpayers,” said Peace Now director Yariv Oppenheimer. “Even when the time comes to cut budgets in other fields, there is always money to be spent on the settlers’ image.”
- Jewish settlers stage anti-Arab march in Sheikh Jarrah, harass natives (occupiedpalestine.wordpress.com)