Bab Al-Shams is still a closed military zone

Identical multiple reports claim activists disguised as bride + “traditional Palestinian wedding party” tried to “retake” #BabAlShams today.  But, it appears that it remains a “Closed Military Zone”….

Photo from the Facebook page of Activists around the world for Palestine here:

an activists dressed as wedding party rebuffed on attempt to "retake" Bab Al-Shams
an activists dressed as wedding party rebuffed on attempt to "retake" Bab Al-Shams

Reuters has the report, which has been picked up + reproduced as is [for example, in Haaretz here, and in the Jerusalem Post here, and also on Ma’an News Agency here]:

“One activist wore a white bridal gown and their cars were decked out in bright ribbons, making the protest look like a traditional Palestinian wedding … Twenty Palestinians were detained for questioning”

UPDATE: On Wednesday 16 January, Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association posted an update on those detained trying to get to Bab Al Shams:  17 of the detainees will report to the Military Court in Ofer and Al Moscobiyeh in Jerusalem. Their charges are:  1 – Access to a closed military zone  2 – Attack on the police
The prosecution is demanding shutting them out of Bab Al Shams for 6 months.

The detainees are:
1. Isam Bakir
2. Ahmad Ziadeh
3. Sharaf Rayan
4. Mohammad Ziyadat
5. Nadeem Abu Hilal
6. Adham Rabie
7. Abady Shalhoub
8. Neta Golan
9. Hatem Al Khatib
10. Eid Jalal Al Khatib
11. Ramzi Faroun
12. Ahmad Abu Rahma
13. Ahmad Brahama
14. Burkan Daraghmeh
15. Ahmad Al Hanash
16. Ahmad Hijazi
17. Ahmad Jabayat

UPDATE TWO: All those arrested were released by Wednesday evening. Some 18 demonstrators were barred from Bab Al-Shams for six weeks, while 15 of the demonstrators were given fines of 1000 shekels [$270] each. The Palestinian government later said that it would pay/reimburse those fines….

Jonathan Cook has written [his article is reproduced here] that “Following the Israeli raid, that point was made eloquently by Mohammed Khatib, one of the organisers. ‘In establishing Bab al-Shams, we declare that we have had enough of demanding our rights from the occupier — from now on we shall seize them ourselves’.  That, of course, is also Netanyahu’s great fear.  The scenario his officials are reported to be most concerned about is that this kind of popular mode of struggle becomes infectious.  If Palestinians see popular non-violent resistance, unlike endless diplomacy, helping to awaken the world to their plight, there may be more Bab al-Shamses — and other surprises for Israel — around the corner.  It was precisely such thinking that led Israel’s attorney-general, Yehuda Weinstein, to justify Netanyahu’s violation of the injunction on the grounds that the camp would ‘bring protests and riots with national and international implications’.”

The U.S. State Department has finally been asked about the Bab al-Shams experiment, and Spokesperson Victoria Nuland stated here that the U.S. believes “settlement activities of any kind…complicate efforts to resume direct bilateral talks” and are “not helpful”:

QUESTION: On the same topic, in the last – over the weekend, the Israelis forcibly moved Palestinians who had tried to reclaim an area taken from them for a settlement in the E1 area in Bab al-Shams. Do you have any comment on that?

MS. [Victoria] NULAND: We’ve obviously been aware of recent developments in E1. I will again take this opportunity to urge all sides, both sides, to refrain from unhelpful action, from unhelpful rhetoric, and to think seriously about the consequences of their actions. Every step taken should be designed to reduce tension, to prepare the way for getting back to the negotiating table.

QUESTION: Would that be the kind of nonviolent resistance that the Palestinians ought to pursue in fighting the occupation?

MS. NULAND: I’m not sure what you’re —

QUESTION: Doing – taking action like that, going to areas and pitching tents and staying up there and do temporary housing and staying on land without seeking – without resorting to violence, that would be the kind of action that the Palestinians ought to do in sort of undoing the occupation?

MS. NULAND: We oppose all unilateral action, Said, including settlement activities of any kind. They complicate efforts to resume direct bilateral talks. This includes in the E1 area. It’s just not helpful.

It's Friday – Bili'n and Nil'in are (update) not-so-Closed Military Zones

It’s Friday — and now we know that the West Bank villages of Bil’in and Nil’in, who have had weekly demonstrations for years, every Friday after the noon prayers, against The Wall that has taken so much of their lands are Closed Military Zones.

That means: by Israeli military order, no non-residents (not other Palestinians, not Israeli and international activists — even those who have been living with families there — and not even journalists) are permitted to be present from 8 am to 8 pm for at least six months (until 17 August).

This order was, apparently, actually in effect from 17 February — but it was just announced last week, more than two weeks after it went into effect. That is very characteristic of the Israeli military occupation.

The issuance of this order has drawn the attention of some Israeli activists who been visible in the Sheikh Jarrah demonstrations that have become weekly since late last year, but who have not, so far, been regulars in the weekly demonstrations in these West Bank villages.

It is not clear how they will express their solidarity today, given the closure orders. UPDATE: They went to the West Bank demonstrations…

A Jerusalem Post article by Dan Izenburg yesterday reported: that “ACRI [Association for Civil Rights in Israel] attorney Limor Yehuda said that ‘the military commander’s order will keep out Israeli and international protesters, precisely those who are recognized as having a moderating influence in the field. That raises questions about what are the reasons behind the order. If the establishment of the barrier on their land was not enough of a violation of the villagers’ human rights, in its latest act the state is failing in its duty to allow and respect the right of the residents to protest against the illegal acts being perpetrated against them’. Yesh Din legal adviser Michael Sfard said ‘the popular protest in Bil’in has become a symbol of the joint struggle of Palestinians and Israelis against the injustice and land robbery caused by the route of the security barrier’.

Continue reading It's Friday – Bili'n and Nil'in are (update) not-so-Closed Military Zones

IDF bans outsiders from being in two Palestinian villages on Fridays for six months

For several years, there have been regular weekly demonstrations against The Wall that the Israeli military has built though the West Bank villages of Bil’in and Nil’in, west of Ramallah. The demonstrations started in February 2005 in Bil’in. In both villages, the demonstrations are held every week, on Friday, at mid-day, after the regular Friday prayers.

The Israeli military has now ordered a closure of the area every Friday for six months (at least), and other punitive measures, in an effort to stifle support for the protest demonstrations.

Continue reading IDF bans outsiders from being in two Palestinian villages on Fridays for six months