Then, at 4 am, the Israeli Police moved in… evacuated everybody [ + may or may not have torn down tents]

As we reported in our previous post, Abir Kopty had reported hearing police move in on the Bab Al-Shams tent village in E-1, on foot, just before midnight…

After that, it was a long night.

Nobody really knows what happened to the tents, because the site is still a closed military zone [at least until 00h30 on Monday] … but it was peculiar that the Israeli Army interpreted so… well, literally, the Supreme Court’s injunction against evicting and/or destroying the 21 or so tents that were put up on Friday morning at Bab al-Shams.

But, the people were certainly removed.

Irene Nasser picked up the story at 2 am, Abir Kopty was also Tweeting, and Fadi Quran joined in at 4 am, sending out these Tweets :

2 am
Irene Nasser @Irene_Nasser — Bulldozers are moving closer towards us along with a large police force after the court gave permission to evict #BabAlShams. Freezing cold

3 am
Abir Kopty @AbirKopty — We are gathered, they are approaching us #BabAlShams
Aljazeera will go live now from here #BabAlShams
They have a strong flash to disturb the cameras of the press #BabAlShams

3 am
Irene Nasser @Irene_Nasser — Dozens of military buses are at the bottom of the hill. Soldiers are moving closer by foot
lights of police cars popping up across the hills around us. press has stuck out the cold and is still here to document #BabAlShams
Military jeeps are almost at the first tent #BabAlShams
They’re here #BabAlShams
We’re surrounded. #BabAlShams
There’s no where to go, it’s dark and can barely see anything. #BabAlShams
They’re closing on the group violently #BabAlShams
First arrest. Not sure who hard to see #BabAlShams
They’re attacking press and moving them out #BabAlShams
More arrested without any of us seeing who #BabAlShams

4 am
Irene Nasser @Irene_Nasser — We’re ALL detained #BabAlShams
We’re on a police bus being moved. Not sure where to #BabAlShams

4 am Fadi Quran @fadiquran
Just arrested, in arrest bus #BabAlShams staying strong
Truth, crushed to earth, shall rise again #BabAlshams

5 am
Irene Nasser @Irene_Nasser — The bus is taking us through #Jerusalem. We seem to be heading either to atarot police station or qalandia checkpoint #BabAlShams
Some detained have either not been to #Jerusalem 10+ yrs or some even never seeing it now for 1st time on an arrest vehicle #BabAlShams
2 full buses of those arrested at #BabAlShams have been release at qalandia checkpoint. I’m on the 3rd bus with others #BabAlShams

5 am Fadi Quran @fadiquran
They just released all of us at Qalandia #BabAlShams

6 am
Irene Nasser @Irene_Nasser — 3 were taken to hospitals. 1 in ramallah and 2 in #Jerusalem who may be arrested. #BabAlShams
Going to the hospital in ramallah to find the 2 injured transferred from the israeli ambulance. #BabAlShams
All those injured (4) have been released. They suffered bad wounds to the face from police punching and violence #BabAlShams
Sun will soon rise on our village. Empty tents, blankets thrown everywhere. They may have evicted us but we’ll always remain. #BabAlShams

6 am
Abir Kopty @AbirKopty — 6 injuries in total during the attack on #BabAlShams, we are here at the hospital with them

7 am
Irene Nasser @Irene_Nasser — Correction: 6 injuries in total. 2 minor


Here is a photo of Hafez Omar, taken after the Israeli Policy + Army evacuated Bab Al-Shams tent village in the E-1 area, east of Jerusalem:

Hafez Omar after the evacuation of Bab Al-Shams
Hafez Omar after the evacuation of Bab Al-Shams


Reactions + Comments:
Ori Nir @OriNir_APN — Isr’ gov’ proves it can quickly and efficiently remove a Palestinian WB illegal outpost. So, how about the ~ 100 illegal Jewish outposts?

Daniel Seidemann @DanielSeidemann — Message of today’s E1 eviction: what is allowed to hilltop West Bank settlers, social protesters in Tel Aviv, is forbidden to Palestinians.

Daniel Seidemann @DanielSeidemann — The message of today’s E1 eviction to WB Palestinians: you may not protest non-violently. That leaves submission or… ahem. Dumb. Just dumb.

Daniel Seidemann @DanielSeidemann — The State claimed that a non-violent E1/Bab Alshams protest in isolated area created “urgent security danger and threat to public safety”

Brent E. Sasley @besasley — @DanielSeidemann So Bibi *did* flagrantly ignore the Supreme Court. Very surprising, and a terrible precedent.

Daniel Seidemann @DanielSeidemann — @besasley The injunction forbids destruction/removal of the E1 protest tents for 6 days, unless there is an urgent security concern. 1/2

Until midnight, at least, Silent Night at Bab Al-Shams

A beautiful photo from Activestills of the Bab Al-Shams tents illuminated peacefully on Saturday night, just before midnight — thanks to the power of the [still in place] injunction against eviction ordered by Israel’s Supreme Court.

Bab Al-Shams tents peacefully illuminated on Saturday night
Bab Al-Shams tents peacefully illuminated on Saturday night

Photo Tweeted by YasminWaQahwa:
@YasminWaQahwa — Palestinian #BabAlShams village camp at night. Stars on earth. #resistance

But, at ten minutes before midnight, Abir Kopty sent this Tweet:
?@AbirKopty — Soldiers on foot are coming closer. #BabAlShams

Israeli Police threaten to evict people [not tents] from Bab al-Shams

Palestinian activists who spent a cold night in the tent village of Bab al-Shams were awakened this morning by a visit from the Israeli Police who said they would be evicted “soon”.

The Israeli Police told the Bab al-Shams residents that the Israeli Supreme Court Order ordering a six-day stay in any eviction proceedings should apply only to the tents they raised yesterday on a hilltop in the E-1 area [east of Jerusalem] — and not to the people staying there.

The Israeli Police obtained an eviction order on Friday, shortly after they realized the Palestinians were setting up Bab Al-Shams, apparently on the grounds of “trespassing”.

Civil Rights Attorney Tawfik Jabareen, who represents Bab Al-Shams and who got the Supreme Court injunction on Friday, said this morning that he thought it was a joke, when he was told about the Israeli police interpretation of Supreme Court injunction.

    #BabAlShams Attorney said he had just sent a letter to Police Commander in E-1/Maale Adumim saying that police interpretation of Supreme Court order is wrong
    “The order is very clear”, #BabAlShams Atty. “It includes tents + people…+ it is forbidden for military commander to evict and/or destroy”
    If the police or military commander have a different interpretation of Court injunction, he/they must go to the Court — #BabAlShams Atty
    If any police/military official acts against Supreme Court injunction, “on his deed a black flag arises” — and this means, it’s illegal: #BabAlShams Attorney

UPDATE: On Saturday afternoon, the Times of Israel added this reporting:
The Supreme Court decision to temporarily halt the removal of the tent city came after four Bedouin families who claim the land submitted a petition. Tawfiq Jabarin presented their case, which contended the tents were erected on private lands as part of a project that attracts tourists to learn about their culture, known as ‘Albadia’. The petition further claimed the initiative, which includes learning how to bake pita or milling flour on stones, only takes places seasonally, in the winter and spring, Haaretz reported. The army and police sought to remove the Supreme Court’s temporary order on the grounds that the petitioners misled the court, arguing that the outpost is a political provocation and not a cultural project. The security forces further contended that the court order prevents the removal of the tents but not of the individuals at the outpost … The IDF also made the area a closed military zone, thereby preventing new activists from reaching it. Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the protesters were handed documents saying they were trespassing“. This is posted here.

Meanwhile, Palestinians have been arriving on at Bab Al-Shams on foot, walking across the hills to avoid roadblocks, as this picture Tweeted by Abir Kopty at middday, here, shows:

Palestinians arrive in Bab Al-Shams by foot, to avoid roadblocks
Palestinians arrive in Bab Al-Shams by foot, to avoid roadblocks

Activestills posted a shot, here, of Palestinian activists arriving in Bab Al-Shams this afternoonL

Activestills photo of Palestinian activists arriving today at Bab Al-Shams tent village
Activestills photo of Palestinian activists arriving today at Bab Al-Shams tent village

And Palestinians from the southern West Bank town of Beit Ommar also went through the hills to arrive at Bab Al-Shams, according to a photo Tweeted by Bekah Wolf:
@BekahWolf— PHOTO: Activists from Beit Ommar make it in to #babalshams going around Israeli military roadblocks this morning

ctivists from Beit Ommar make it in to #babalshams
Palestinian activists from Beit Ommar make it in to #babalshams

But, two Palestinian officials were prevented from arriving at Bab Al-Shams by car. Ma’an News Agency reported that “Israeli forces on Saturday prevented Palestinian officials from entering the E1 area east of Jerusalem to visit protest tents set up a day earlier by activists. ‘The soldiers treated us improperly and savagely before they forced us to go back to Ramallah’, PLO official Hanan Ashrawi told Ma’an. A vehicle carrying Ashrawi and PA minister of social affairs, Majida al-Masri, was stopped and searched at a checkpoint, with soldiers preventing the officials from continuing to the E1 area, despite holding Jerusalem ID cards”. This is posted here.

Ashrawi later told Reuters’ Noah Browning that “We will continue to try to enter the village of Bab el Shams, which to us means freedom”.  This is posted here.

Sa’eb Erekat was also reportedly blocked from getting to Bab Al-Shams, while Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi, an elected member of the moribund Palestinian Legislative Council, was able to get through, probably by going on foot…

Hussam Khader freed from 15 months in Israeli Administrative Detention

Hussam Khader, a Fatah leader and activist from Balata Refugee Camp in Nablus, was freed today from 15 months’ Administrative Detention in Israel.

His lawyer, Jawad Bulous, who was appointed by the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society headed by Qaddoura Fares, said that he had gone to Megiddo Prison in the morning to make sure that there would be no surprises. He said he left when he was sure — as sure as possible — that Hussam “will be sleeping in his own home tonight”.

Bulous explained that when Hussam had made his appeal to Israel’s Supreme Court in Jerusalem in June, after one year in Administrative Detention, the military courts had already decided to give a three-month extension, which the State Prosecutor wanted to be extended to six months. According to Bulous, the Supreme Court panel of judges who heard Hussam’s appeal had denied the six-month extension — barring, as usual, any “new discoveries” by the security forces.

As there was nothing new, Hussam had to be freed, Bulous said. And, suddenly, finally, he was free.

Day 70 [or Day 69?] of historic hunger strike of two Palestinians protesting Israeli military orders of Admininstrative Detention

Today is Day 70 [or is it Day 69?] of a historic hunger strike by two Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, Bilal Diab and Thaer Halahleh.

The two men are protesting the Israeli military orders of Administrative Detention under which they have been seized and kept prisoner without their [or their lawyers] knowing the details of any evidence that Israeli secret services may have against them. In such a situation, no defense is possible.

Even the exact details of the charges or accusations are not known, just the generic reason always given in cases of Administrative Detention, which is: “posing a threat to security in the area”

There is apparently no record of anyone surviving a hunger strike longer than 75 days.

These two men appeared in Israel’s Supreme Court in Jerusalem last Thursday [3 May] for a hearing on their appeal of the Administrative Detention orders. One of them, Bilal Diab, fainted and could not speak. Here is a photo of Bilal Diab inside the Supreme Court chambers:

Photo of Bilal Diab in Israeli Supreme Court in Jerusalem at appeal hearing on 3 May
Photo taken by @thameenaHusary and viewed on Twitter via @Occupy2gether here.

Today, the Israeli Supreme Court declined giving any decision on their appeal, reportedly declining to be involved.

Continue reading Day 70 [or Day 69?] of historic hunger strike of two Palestinians protesting Israeli military orders of Admininstrative Detention

Israel's Supreme Court allows continuation of ban on Palestinian spouses

Eleven judges of the Israeli Supreme Court decided in a narrowly split vote [6 in favor, 5 against] this week [on 11 January] to continue a ban that has been in effect since 2003, during the height of the Second Palestinian Intifada, on allowing Palestinian spouses to reside legally with their Israeli husbands or wives [and their children] inside Israel.

A Haaretz editorial on 13 January stated that: “In a 2006 ruling, 6 out of 11 justices said the law was unconstitutional, and in the current ruling, 6 out of 11 justices said the law, which was made more strict after the first ruling, was constitutional. That’s a disappointing outcome, in part because the first ruling was made not long after the terror attacks of the second intifada, while the current ruling was made during a period of calm, due in part to coordination between Israel and the Palestinian Authority…”

Continue reading Israel's Supreme Court allows continuation of ban on Palestinian spouses

More on Israeli Stone Quarries in the West Bank: Yesh Din asks for wider review

The Israeli human rights organization Yesh Din has just filed a petition with Israel’s Supreme Court [High Court of Justice] asking for a further hearing in the case of Israeli-owned stone quarries operating in the West Bank.

Yesh Din first challenged the legality of Israeli quarrying activities in the occupied West Bank in a petition filed in March 2009.

The petition focuses on the specific case of the stone quarries, but it exposes many of the incongruencies and the quite deliberate ambiguities of the continued Israeli occupation of the West Bank.

On 26 December 2011, after almost two years of deliberation, a panel of judges of Israel’s High Court of Justice (HCJ), chaired by Chief Justice Dorit Beinisch, “dismissed the petition and held that the quarrying activities are legal and do not violate the provisions of international law”.

Yesh Din has said that it considers that ruling “in our view both factually and legally mistaken”.

Yesh Din’s legal adviser, Attorney Michael Sfard indicated strong disagreement with the Supreme Court’s ruling by stating that ‘Quarrying natural resources in an occupied territory for the economic benefit of the occupying state is pillage”.

Yesh Din’s has posted its reaction to the Israeli High Court ruling on 26 December here.

Yesh Din has challenged, in the petition, the legality of Israeli actions during its prolonged occupation of a territory on which Israel evidently has an as-yet-unspecified claim.

Though Israel officially deals with the situation as an occupation, it avoids to the maximum extent possible using the word, or discussing the consequences.

Israeli arguments of ideological position generally say that the Palestinian territory is “disputed” rather than “occupied”.

Israel does not dispute, however, that its Ministry of Defense administers the West Bank.

And, the Israeli Ministry of Defense has installed a “Civil Administration” which restrictively regulates most aspects of Palestinian life in the West Bank. Israeli life in the West Bank, by contrast, is governed by Israeli law — in effect, creating a slow, partial, unclear and unofficial, but progressive, annexation.

While “facts on the ground” are proceeding apace, there has not yet been an official Israeli act of annexation. If and when annexation is declared, an international uproar can be expected.

Meanwhile, Palestinians argue that the Israeli creation of facts on the ground — particularly, though not exclusively, Israeli settlement-building — is intended to make the situation irreversible.

The exact nature of Israel’s claims to the Israeli/Jewish settlements that that the government has overtly and officially facilitated is still unstated.

It has become apparent that Israel does not want to evacuate not only the three or four major Israeli settlement blocs in the West Bank, but also isolated settlements, and now even what have been called “unauthorized outposts”.

The new Yesh Din petition filed on January 10 asks for further Supreme Court review of the Israeli quarries’ continued exploitation of a Palestinian natural resource — by an expanded panel of judges.

In its new request, Yesh Din argues that “Relaxing the prohibition on harm to the capital of properties of the occupied territory lays the legal foundation for irreversible economic exploitation of occupied territory by an Occupying Power, despite the fact that the prohibition on such exploitation is amongst the primary objectives (and therefore amongst the primary principles) of the international law of occupation”

In fact, Yesh Din argues, the recent Supreme Court decision “permits the Occupier (in a prolonged occupation) to make use, for its own purposes, of plunder found in the occupied territory: to pump water found there, to transfer archeological findings out of the occupied territory, to exploit open spaces for waste disposal, to sell public property and other such irreversible acts which harm or alter the capital of public properties.”

To clarify the matter, Yesh Din said it is specifically requesting the High Court of Justice to hold a further hearing with a broader panel of judges, on the following questions:

  • What are the boundaries of the State of Israel’s authority in relation to its administration of the natural resources belonging to the territories occupied by Israel in ‘belligerent occupation’, and in this context, what is the relationship between Article 55 and Article 43 of the Annex to the fourth Hague Convention Respecting the Laws and Customs of War on Land (1907)?
  • < ?p>

  • Specifically, does an Occupying Power, in a prolonged occupation, have the authority to grant its citizens, or corporations owned by its citizens and/or registered in the Occupying Power, rights to quarry natural resources in occupied territory in general, and in quarries which did not exist prior to the occupation, in particular?
  • In as far as an Occupying Power is permitted to grant rights to quarry natural resources in occupied territory, is this authority subordinate to the principle of ‘continuity’ or to the principle of ‘reasonableness’?
  • Does the fact that Israeli quarries provide employment opportunities for Palestinians and pay royalties to the Civil Administration make granting these rights an act which should be considered, from a legal perspective, “for the benefit of the local population”?

The full request [in Hebrew, for those who read Hebrew] is posted here.

We have written earlier posts about the Supreme Court ruling on the Yesh Din petition, here and here.

Continue reading More on Israeli Stone Quarries in the West Bank: Yesh Din asks for wider review

My day in the Israeli Supreme Court

This is a difficult subject for me to write about, but I shall start:

On Monday 19 December, the a three-judge panel of the Israeli Supreme Court held its first hearing in my petition for restoration of an Israeli press card [which I did have from mid-2007 until 2010].

For the past two years, I have had no Israeli press card — and therefore no Israeli visa for “journalists”.

The Israeli journalist’s visa is a strange hybrid visa giving a one-year tourist status [no residency, and no resident’s rights, but just a residency permit] plus [and this is important] a work permit.

So, since 2010 — for the last two years — I have been staying precariously in Israel on a normal 3-month visa for any general tourist [except for the 3.5 month period this summer when I had no visa at all, but just a “receipt” from the Ministry of Interior]. Most of the series of 3-month tourist visas I was given since 2010 are marked: “NOT PERMITTED TO WORK”.

What does this mean, exactly? It is certainly not clear.

Does it mean if I write for my own blog — which is really more like a niche website — I am “working”? If I do this without payment, is it “working”? If I write for other publications, with or without token payments, is that “working”? Does “working” require payment? Is it merely payment that confirms working, and that also bestows the special status of “journalist”? And so on…

How can I reasonably expect — and, importantly, how can the Israeli Government expect — me to be able to get work from any major media organization if I am being kept in a kind of stasis by a visa marked: “NOT PERMITTED TO WORK”???

I have been totally clear and honest about what I am doing, but my status, though legal, is not clear.

The Israel Press Cards are issued by the Israeli Government Press Office [GPO] which is part of the Prime Minister’s Office [PMO]. [The current Prime Minister of Israel is Benyamin Netanyahu]
way through the process, beginning with a committee established by the Prime Minister’s Office [PMO]

Let me say here that I do hold a Palestinian Press Card — and used to hold both Israeli + Palestinian press cards, which is important for both security + for relative assurances of the ability to move throughout the area under Israeli administration or military control.

But, as the Israeli IDF spokesperson said to me: “I can’t deal with that”…

In other words, a Palestinian press card means nothing to Israel — and Israel gives no reciprocal rights given to any holders, whether Palestinian or international, of Palestinian press cards.

[Many of the members of the major international media organizations in Israel also have Palestinian press cards, too…]

But, one of the important points at the moment is, without an Israeli press card, it is IMPOSSIBLE for me to go in and out of Gaza [except through the Rafah Crossing, which I have not tried, due to the relatively high expense and high uncertainty involved].

Despite the request of the Israeli Government Attorney [State Prosecutor’s Office], the three-judge panel sitting in judgement in Chamber Gimel of the Israeli Supreme Court on Monday did not dismiss my case from their docket and return it to the tender hands of the GPO.

The Supreme Court judges asked the Government to be more prepared, and then set a second hearing for late February.

More to follow, later, in further installments on this developing story…

Three flat tires on my car: one Dahiet al-Bariid morning

About ten days ago, as I was headed off to a conference in memory of Ibrahim Abu Lughod at Bir Zeit University (outside Ramallah), I was only able to get about 75 meters to my destination.


My leased car, which had been parked on the street, suddenly had three flat tires, all at once.

Of course, it was not an accident.

All three tires had the cap removed from the air valve.

Two of the tires, it turned out, had been slashed.

One result: I never got to the conference at Bir Zeit University…

Yes, this is the same neighborhood in Dahiet al-Bariid (on the JERUSALEM side of The Wall) where I received death threats, written (in Arabic) on the windshield and (in English) on the window of driver’s side of the car, in August 2009. [Our earlier report in that is posted here…]

This is about 150 meters or so from the observation towers of the IDF Central Command Headquarters in Neve Yaakov. It is around the corner from Ahmad Tibi’s house. It is up one level from the World Bank office in Jerusalem (East Jerusalem).

Note: Before The Wall came here, they used to say the World Bank was in ar-Ram, and this was the supposedly “neutral” place where the Geneva Initiative people used to meet every month, the Israeli team and the Palestinian team. All that is now gone, long gone…

As The Wall was being constructed, almost all of Dahiet al-Bariid was going to be immured. Most of Dahiet al-Bariid (except for some meters of land down by the road going to Atarot and Qalandia, ending around the “jisr” where the water pipes come from Ramallah) was just outside (but immediately adjacent to) the “Greater Jerusalem Municipality” boundaries drawn unilaterally by Israel after its conquest in the June 1967 war. When it became evident that The Wall would sever the neighborhood from Jerusalem, a number of residents and the Christian institutions in the southern part of the neighborhood petitioned the Israeli Supreme Court to stay in Jerusalem. The Israeli Supreme Court said yes, apparently before I came here, and now takes this decision into account when dealing with any problems in this area. But the Israeli military did not make the changes on the ground that would enact this Supreme Court decision. Even after The Wall was closed here, at the beginning of September 2008, the “ar-Ram” checkpoint still remained in place until mid-February 2009. During that terrible time, there was no way in or out except through that miserable “ar-Ram” checkpoint, which was a particularly and notoriously bad one. Everytime you needed fresh food, or medicine, you had to get in line at the checkpoint, for at least half an hour, and be subject to teeth-grinding, stomach-pain humilation. On the day the “ar-Ram” checkpoint was finally removed, the Commander of Qalandia Checkpoint was there (“Captain Uri”), and I asked him what the status of the neighborhood was, now — was it finally and clearly Jerusalem, I asked? Who said that? he asked. The Israeli Supreme Court, and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, I replied. “No”, he told me, “this is a Kaf ha-Teva” (“manteqa tamas”, or seam zone), “We have to let the negotiators do their work”…

Well, that could take a good long time.

Meanwhile, no law authority comes to this neighborhood, though it seems to be under the jurisdiction of the Israeli police in Binyamina, on the other side of the Hizma checkpoint, on Road 60 in the West Bank — though the police officers there don’t readily admit responsibility, and don’t know the area, because they apparently never come here.

For the moment, that’s all I have to say.

Israeli Supreme Court upholds deportation decision for Mairead Maguire

The Israeli Supreme Court has apparently decided to stand behind a deportation decision made last Tuesday at Ben Gurion Airport when Northern Ireland’s Mairead Maguire landed to attend a conference of women Nobel Peace Prize winners with Israeli and Palestinian women.

Maguire had participated in three expeditions to break the seige on Gaza by sea, and received two previous deportation orders which also banned her from returning to Israel for the next ten years.

A panel of three Supreme Court justices said they did not believe Maguire was unaware of the ban.

Israel’s state attorney convinced the Supreme Court that Maguire should have appealed the matter through Israel’s Interior Ministry rather than just flying to Israel and showing up at the airport.

Continue reading Israeli Supreme Court upholds deportation decision for Mairead Maguire