Activists Set up Camp near Jerusalem

JERUSALEM, February 3, 2015 (WAFA) – Around 250 Palestinian activists set up a makeshift camp east of Jerusalem on Tuesday, a move said by the activists to protest Israel’s attempts to annex the area where the camp was set up.

Hani Halabiya, spokesperson of the People’s Resistance in the town of Abu Dis, east of Jerusalem, said the activists set up what they labeled “the East Gate of Jerusalem” in protest of Israel’s attempts to annex the area.

The makeshift camp, which was set up between the illegal settlements of Ma’ale Adumim and Keidar in the so-called E1 area, was said to protest Israeli plans to annex E1 in case of a future peace deal with the Palestinians.

The “East Gate of Jerusalem” is the third of its kind after two similar camps were set up by local and foreign activists in 2013 and 2014.

In January 2013, Palestinian activists and foreign supporters set up a similar camp which they named “Bab al-Shams,” or “Gate of the Sun.” Despite of its peaceful trend, the camp was nonetheless rammed and evacuated by Israeli army and Border Police.

A similar camp was erected in February 2014, when 300 Palestinians and international activists gathered and set up a makeshift camp in an abandoned village in the Jordan Valley village. The village, Ein Hijleh, had been abandoned after Israel captured the West Bank from Jordan in 1967.

The protest was aimed at denouncing the repeated refusal of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to dismantle Jewish settlements and agree to a pullout from the Jordan Valley.

Campaign organizers and participants said that their action was part of “a continuous step against the Israeli occupation’s plan to take over and annex the Jordan Valley” and “Israeli oppression of the Palestinian people.” The activists also called for intensifying the boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign against Israeli companies operating in the occupied Jordan Valley.

However, like Bab al-Shams, Israeli military ransacked Ein Hijleh camp and evacuated the peaceful activists and the supporters.

Tens of settlements and agricultural outposts have been established by Israel in the Valley, which makes up about one-third of the total area of the occupied West Bank.