Palestinians protest land seizures at new camp Bab al-Karama

AFP , Saturday 19 Jan 2013

Tens of Palestinian citizens enter new struggle to assert land rights as they set up the 'Gate of Dignity' camp in a West Bank Village

Bab al-Shams
Palestinian activists place Palestinian flags in the new 'outpost ' of Bab al-Shams (Gate of the Sun) in an area known as E1, near Jerusalem, Saturday, Jan 12, 2013 (Photo: AP)

Some 200 Palestinians gathered on Saturday at a new encampment in a West Bank village, protesting for the second consecutive day Israel's intention to confiscate land.

"We have settled on the lands of the Beit Iksa village to prevent its confiscation by the Israeli army," Osama Zayed, village resident and one of the organisers of the initiative, told AFP.

The activists erected four tents since Friday and were building a structure to serve as a mosque.

Ziad Abu Ein, an official from Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas' Fatah movement, told AFP that "many such villages should be created, to remove the occupation and the settlements."

Activists say the Israeli army recently announced it would confiscate over 500 dunams (124 acres, 50 hectares) of land by the village, located on the northwestern outskirts of Jerusalem.

The village extension was named Bab al-Karama, Arabic for Gate of Dignity.

The Israeli army was monitoring the developments, but on Saturday had no comment on the activities.

Two military jeeps had arrived at the site, but were blocked by the activists, who stood in the way to the tents singing songs. The vehicles turned around and left.

The Bab al-Karama encampment comes in light of the eviction of 50 Palestinians who had encamped in Bab al-Shams, a protest camp in area E1, in a bid to draw attention to Israeli plans to build settlements in the area.

The eviction was followed by the dismantling of Bab al-Shams after the Israeli Supreme Court agreed with the government's argument that the tents could be a magnet for violent Palestinian protests.

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