Netanyahu ordered eviction of Bab al-Shams

on 28 Comments
bab arrest 2
Israeli forces destroy the village of Gate of the Sun, detaining dozens of its residents. (Photo:

Israeli special forces have detained Palestinian villagers in the protest encampment of Bab al-Shams, in the E1 area of the West Bank, after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the eviction Saturday night. The Israeli Supreme Court had issued a stay of eviction Friday (responding to a petition filed in anticipation of the raid).

Update: There remains confusion about what exactly unfolded Saturday night. Al Jazeera reported: Netanyahu’s office “was petitioning the Supreme Court to rescind an earlier injunction blocking the evacuation. In the meantime, he ordered the area declared a closed military zone and shut off access.” While the New York Times says that, “The court overturned the injunction [Saturday night], allowing the people to be removed from the site.”

Around 3 a.m. on Sunday approximately 500 Special Forces soldiers from the Yasam unit surrounded the campers, detaining all 150 overnight residents according to Palestinian activist and media producer Irene Nasser. When the raid began Nasser told me she was in the medical tent and was informed, “‘they’re here.” She exited to find “hundreds and hundreds [of soldiers] just a few feet from us.” Nasser explained that due to the hills and absence of lights in E1, Bab al-Shams’s villagers were unable to identify when the raid would begin until it was in progress.

bab arrest
Residents of the newly erected protest village of Bab al-Shams in E1, during the Israeli border police raid early Sunday morning, 13 January 2013. (Photo: French/Al Jazeera Arabic)

Once in custody, the two-day residents of the first new village in E1 in 60 years from Bab al-Shams to Jerusalem were carried off in buses, finally deposited at Qalandia checkpoint. “Some detained have either not been to Jerusalem in 10+ yrs or some… never seeing it now for the 1st time on an arrest vehicle,” tweeted Irene Nasser from the back of the third police bus.

At this time, I am told that all of the detained villagers have been released and no charges were filed against them.

Nasser also reported via Twitter that six Palestinians were beaten severely by the Israeli military after being detained and were later taken to a hospital in Ramallah. Four sustained facial injuries.

In footage filmed by Al Jazeera Arabic during the raid, soldiers are seen carrying Bab al-Shams residents off of the property. After the area was cleared the authorities closed off access to media, according to the report filed by Jane Ferguson. It is unknown at this time if the 25 tents erected two days ago are still standing.

Below is video of the villagers released at Qalandiya (h/t Annie Robbins).

And another video of the evictions at Bab Al-Shams


Not a settlement

Several news outlets including Al Jazeera English, the BBC and the New York Times have claimed a tactical similarity between the organizers’ approach in establishing Bab al-Shams and Israeli settlers. Reporting on this morning’s eviction Al Jazeera said, “The activists were borrowing a phrase and a tactic, usually associated with Jewish settlers, who believe establishing communities means the territory will remain Israeli.” And the BBC echoed, “Their actions mirror those of Israeli settlers who stake their claim to parts of the West Bank by pitching mobile homes on hilltops, known as outposts. Such home are not officially sanctioned, but the aim is to establish ‘facts on the ground’.”

The analogy is not correct. Unlike settlers, the Palestinians who created Bab al-Shams built their village on land where no one–even the Israelis–have contested their rightful ownership.

Israeli authorities issued a closed military zone order, which forbids people from being present in the village, but not structures. So under Israeli law no persons are allowed on the land, but the village in it of itself is not illegal. Under Israeli military code that governs Area C of the West Bank, closed military zones can be declared at the discretion of the civil administration. However this closed military zone was declared by Prime Minister Netanyahu personally. This same process of placing a military zone on a piece of land and ostensibly kicking out the residents is used in increased frequency in the Jordan Valley, also in area C of the West Bank. Since last fall over 1,000 Palestinians in that region have been evicted from their villages under a military order. So those villages are much more analogous to Bab al-Shams than Israeli outposts unrecognized by the state.

There are also glaring practical differences between outpost-settlers and the Palestinians of Bab al-Shams. Sometimes called the “hilltop youth,” these settlers construct on land either officially recognized as privately owned by a Palestinian, or under the stewardship of the Israeli government. The Jewish state claims ownership to large amounts of property in the West Bank, including four national parks outside of the country’s borders. In a completely bizarre system, Israel employs old Ottoman codes still on the books to “nationalize” un-tilled agricultural lands in the occupied Palestinian territories. Often there is first a military order to close the zone, then if the land remains “unused” for five years by virture of the military order, it is declared “dead land.”  The state can then assume ownership.

Because Israeli Basic Law, a set of amendments that is the closest thing Israel has to a constitution, bars state land from being transferred to a private owner, once an expropriation has taken place in the West Bank the law does not allow for it to ever be returned to or purchased back by its original owner. This is why farmers in Area C who face settler harassment find it essential to harvest annually. If they don’t work their land, Palestinians can lose their fields to occupation laws. Once that occurs, settlers have a formal process to file for permits from the Ministry of Planning and Housing to legally build, although they are clearly outside of Israel’s 1967 borders.

Of course, Jewish outpost setters do not bother with the permit process and set-up anywhere they please. Generally their purpose is ideological, claiming spiritual fulfillment in residing on the land, regardless of violations to state and international laws—let alone moral rules barring theft. They build caravans or informal structures using materials that are far more durable than the tents of Bab al-Shams. Settlers also have access to roads and highways and do not have to reach their encampments on foot, walking for over an hour. Additionally their locations often are immediately adjacent to a settlement that is officially recognized by the state and therefore are a one-minute jaunt from electricity, water, and sewage and bus service.

Setting up next door to permanent structures provides a tremendous amount of comfort for even the most unpleasant outpost living. Bab al-Shams never had this option. Although the Palestinian village did have a number of Bedouin neighbors living off the grid, there was no escape from the overnight drop in temperature to 30 degrees.

Some 50 meters northwest of Bab al-Shams is a Bedouin village where Palestinians live in informal houses not connected to electricity, water or sewage. The neighboring encampment is part of a series of satellite Jahalin Bedouin townships that are not officially recognized by Israel and are under pressure to relocate. Before Prime Minister Netanyahu announced last fall that Israel intended to construct 4,000 new units inside of E1, Jahalin Bedouin residents told Mondoweiss the Civil Administration had approached some communities with an offer to swap land. Two weeks ago Abu Khamis, a Jahalin community leader in E1 showed us a map given to him by Israeli officials that highlighted a plot several miles west of E1 where the authorities hoped to transfer his village. Yet Abu Khamis avowed to stay on his land, despite the hardships of living without building permits.

About Allison Deger

Allison Deger is the Assistant Editor of Follow her on twitter at @allissoncd.

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28 Responses

  1. Blownaway
    January 13, 2013, 1:38 pm

    There is no rule of law…for Jews only anyway

    • Accentitude
      January 14, 2013, 5:18 am

      It depends on how you look at it, actually…but first please make the distinction between Jews and Israelis. After all, not every Jew is an Israeli and not every Israeli is a Jew…although sometimes that gets foggy with the way that the Israeli government behaves.

      Anyway, one can argue that there is indeed a rule of law for Israelis that protects their rights whereas there isn’t one for Palestinians which gives the Israeli government free reign to do what they want with them as you’ve seen in the videos Allison posted above….or….that there is a rule of law for Palestinians too but that it’s a completely separate set of laws working independently of Israeli laws for Israelis…which is also the reality. Keep in mind that detained Palestinians are subject to military laws where as Israelis are subject to civilian laws and that’s also one of many reasons why you don’t see detained and tortured Israelis but you do see detained and tortured Palestinians.

  2. Kathleen
    January 13, 2013, 1:38 pm

    “authorities closed off access to media” you know how the only alleged democracy in the middle east does business. Close off access to the media…

    Anyone hearing anything about the two day old Bab al-Shams anywhere in the US MSm. Put up an alert over at Up with Chris Hayes…they said nothing Sat or Sun.

  3. just
    January 13, 2013, 3:40 pm

    Thank you dear Allison. Stay safe, please.

  4. DICKERSON3870
    January 13, 2013, 3:59 pm

    RE: “There are also glaring practical differences between outpost-settlers and the Palestinians of Bab al-Shams. Sometimes called the “hilltop youth,” these settlers construct on land either officially recognized as privately owned by a Palestinian, or under the stewardship of the Israeli government.” ~ Allison Deger

    MY COMMENT: I wonder if the ‘hilltop youth’ (outpost-settlers) are/were inspired by the 1983 lyrics of Bob Dylan’s Neighborhood Bully (“Neighborhood bully, standing on the hill, Running out the clock”).
    Enquiring mimes want to know!


    • DICKERSON3870
      January 13, 2013, 4:12 pm

      P.S. RE: “Neighborhood bully, standing on the hill, Running out the clock ~ Bob Dylan

      AS TO “RUNNING OUT THE CLOCK”, THIS FROM ALISTAIR CROOKE, London Review of Books, 03/03/11:

      [EXCERPT] . . . Israel’s vice-premier, Moshe Ya’alon, was candid when asked in an interview this year: ‘Why all these games of make-believe negotiations?’ He replied:

      Because … there are pressures. Peace Now from within, and other elements from without. So you have to manoeuvre … what we have to do is manoeuvre with the American administration and the European establishment, which are nourished by Israeli elements [and] which create the illusion that an agreement can be reached … I say that time works for those who make use of it. The founders of Zionism knew … and we in the government know how to make use of time.

      SOURCE –

    • DICKERSON3870
      January 13, 2013, 4:19 pm

      P.P.S. FROM “Bob Dylan – The Rolling Stone Interview” (by Kurt Loder – 1984)

      . . . • Q (Loder) – Your latest album, ‘Infidels’, is hardly subteen fodder. Some critics have even detected a new note of conservatism in some of the songs — even
      outright jingoism in “Neighborhood Bully”
      in which the metaphorical subject is said to be “just one man” whose “enemies say he’s on their land.” That’s clearly a strong
      Zionist political statement, is it not?
      • A (Dylan) – You’d have to point that out to me, you know, what line is in it that spells that out. I’m not a political songwriter. Joe Hill was a political songwriter; uh, Merle Travis wrote some political songs. “Which Side Are You On?” is a political song. And “Neighborhood Bully,” to me, is not a political song, because if it were, it would fall into a certain political party. If you’re talkin’ about it as an Israeli political song – in Israel alone, there’s maybe twenty political parties. I don’t know where that would fall, what party.
      • Q (Loder) – Well, would it be fair to call that song a heartfelt statement of belief?
      • A (Dylan) – Maybe it is, yeah. But just because somebody feels a certain way, you can’t come around and stick some political-party slogan on it. If you listen closely, it really could be about other things.
      It’s simple and easy to define it, so you got it pegged, and you can deal with it in that certain kinda way. However, I wouldn’t do that. ‘Cause I don’t know what the politics of Israel is. I just don’t know.
      • Q (Loder) – So you haven’t resolved for yourself, for instance, the Palestinian question?
      • A (Dylan) – Not really, because I live here.

      • Q (Loder) – Would you ever live in Israel?
      • A (Dylan) – I don’t know. It’s hard to speculate what tomorrow may bring. I kinda live where I find myself.
      At another point in the song, you say, “He got no allies to really speak of,” and while “he buys obsolete weapons and he won’t be denied…no one sends flesh and blood to fight by his side.” Do you feel that America should send troops over there?
      No. The song doesn’t say that. Who should, who shouldn’t — who am I to say?
      • Q (Loder) – Well, do you think Israel should get more help from the American Jewish community? I don’t want to push this so far, but it just seems so…
      • A (Dylan) – Well, you’re not pushing it too far, you’re just making it specific. And you’re making it specific to what’s going on today. But what’s going on today isn’t gonna last, you know? The battle of Armageddon is specifically spelled out: where it will be fought, and if you wanna get technical, when it will be fought. And the battle of the Armageddon definitely will be fought in the Middle East. . .

      SOURCE –

      • DICKERSON3870
        January 13, 2013, 4:28 pm


        [EXCERPT] . . . According to the Sue Fishkoff book “The Rebbe’s Army”, p.167, Bob Dylan is one of the biggest names associated with Chabad. In the early 1980s, Chabad “rescued” Dylan from a brief flirtation with Christianity, and for several years, Dylan studied with Minneapolis Rabbis Manis Friedman and Moshe Feller, whom he visited also for Shabbat dinners. Dylan made a surprise appearance at the 1988 and 1989 Chabad telethons, once playing “Hava Negila” out of tune on the harmonica. . .

        SOURCE –

      • DICKERSON3870
        January 13, 2013, 4:38 pm

        AN EARLY WINTER EVENING’S MUSICAL INTERLUDE, sponsored by the makers of new Ziocaine Über-Xtreme®: It’s guaran-damn-teed to blow your effing mind!™

        I’m waiting
        And diversing
        I’m collecting

        Bob Dylan wrote propaganda songs!
        Bob Dylan wrote propaganda songs!

        On my window
        And my fruit
        Outline my root

        Bob Dylan wrote propaganda songs!
        Bob Dylan wrote propaganda songs! ~ Minutemen (1982)

        Minutemen: Bob Dylan Wrote Propaganda
        [VIDEO, 01:29] –

      • Kathleen
        January 14, 2013, 5:34 am

        I’m 60 and could never understand the fascination with Dylan. He was about the money like most entertainers. An opportunist. Great writer if indeed he wrote the lyrics but he really never demonstrated what he said or allegedly felt. It was about the money

      • Kathleen
        January 13, 2013, 9:07 pm

        Dylan is another “liberal” Zionist. Which does not exist, He is a Zionist and Zionism at its very core is racist. Just no way around it

      • Accentitude
        January 14, 2013, 5:22 am


  5. Mooser
    January 13, 2013, 4:09 pm

    “after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu personally overrode a stay of eviction order by the High Court (issued days ago, responding to a petition filed in anticipation of the raid).”

    Ah! More shared values, like the executive overuling, summarily, the High Court.
    Oh- “High Court”. Maybe that’s why it’s not “Supreme”. Only God is supreme, that must be it.

  6. Mooser
    January 13, 2013, 4:22 pm

    The background information under “Not a Settlement” is clear, well written, and much appreciated.

    • Annie Robbins
      January 13, 2013, 5:24 pm

      mooser, re that background information. allison is a wealth of information about israel’s land laws in israel and the palestinian territories. she already knows a lot of this stuff as i have found out getting to know her over the last year. lots of this stuff is already cached in her mind which allows her to pull up facts at a moments notice when something like this comes down. whereas another journo might have to spend hours researching these laws and such, we get to read this information in a timely way as it pertains to events happening on the ground. not, days or weeks later as facts dribble out. iow, we’re very lucky.

  7. a blah chick
    January 13, 2013, 8:33 pm

    I recall hearing Neighborhood Bully on the radio back in the early eighties and thought that it would be a perfect anthem for Israel.

  8. Kathleen
    January 13, 2013, 9:11 pm

    The Israeli authority dividing Palestinian land into zones and claiming that some of these zones are military zones is completely illegal under international law.

  9. Kathleen
    January 13, 2013, 9:21 pm

    How destructive is it to use Israeli terms for Palestinians land. E1 Areas ABC.

  10. tombishop
    January 13, 2013, 9:32 pm

    Norm Chomsky on Al Jazeera English about Netanyahu’s enablers and the condition of democracy in the world:

  11. mcohen
    January 14, 2013, 1:27 am

    take a look on google maps and you will see why the arabs want to secure is in the middle of a corridor running from jerusalem to the jordanian border.there is no way in the world that israel would allow a strategic hill fall into arab hands.

    • Accentitude
      January 14, 2013, 6:16 am

      What a weak argument. E1 goes straight to Jordan… does Gaza if you stand at Rafah, face east and walk straight. Hell if you want, you can even stand in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and I’ll point you in the right direction to get to the Jordanian border at Jericho. What’s your point?

    • eljay
      January 14, 2013, 8:37 am

      >> take a look on google maps and you will see why the arabs want to secure e1.

      Omigod, it IS scary! The West Bank looks like a large-chinned man about to swallow Jerusalem and all he needs is a gullet…and that’s E1! 8-o

      Then again, it could have something to do with the fact that E1 is in what is left of Palestine that hasn’t already been stolen by Zio-supremacists.

    • seafoid
      January 14, 2013, 10:10 am

      Israel is an airstrip on the Asian land mass.

    • Allison Deger
      January 14, 2013, 2:18 pm

      Actually the official Israeli position is more about Jerusalem. They say that the “Arabs” want to expand development on E1 in order to encircle the city to use as a future capital. Access to Jordan isn’t really the issue.

      From the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs:
      “On the ground there is a discernible Palestinian aim to link up Arab eastern Jerusalem neighborhoods to adjacent neighborhoods and towns in the West Bank. During the period of the Barak government, the Palestinians formally requested that the region of E-1 be transferred to them as Area B (where they enjoy full civilian control), but Barak refused.”

  12. Accentitude
    January 14, 2013, 5:09 am

    Since its been customary for the Israeli government to declare the removal of people on their own land outside of Israel’s own borders, can other governments jump on board this new and lucrative idea? I propose the President of Kenya declare the removal of the residents of Tel Aviv or the Prime Minister of Japan to declare the removal of the people living in Las Vegas. If its sounds as ridiculous to you as it is to me, it might be because….well….it is ridiculous. Only in Israel can this crap happen.

  13. Kathleen
    January 14, 2013, 5:42 am

    to the Palestinians…the world is watching. Last night attended a showing of “Roadmap to Apartheid” at a beautiful Presbyterian church in downtown Denver put on by the local Sabeel group. White haired seniors talking about these human rights issues. Quite a few African American individuals as well. The movement is growing although people are not sure where it is going. Israel’s brutal apartheid tactics are being exposed more and more everyday. Awareness has come a long long way.

    In the above post Allison points out that Al Jazeera, BBC and the New York Bloody Times all mention that the Palestinians are using some of the same methods as illegal Israeli settlers. The huge differences are illegal settlers get to stay on Palestinian lands and are protected by the corrupt and immoral Israeli government

  14. talknic
    January 14, 2013, 10:46 am


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