Palestinians build outpost in West Bank tract slated for settlement

Organizers erect 20 tents in E1 area, located between Jerusalem, Maaleh Adumim, say they’re there to stay

Ilan Ben Zion, a reporter at the Associated Press, is a former news editor at The Times of Israel.

Palestinian activists and international supporters on Friday erected a tent city in the area known as E1, between Jerusalem and the settlement of Maaleh Adumim, in a move that mirrored tactics used by Jewish settlers in the West Bank.

The outpost, called Bab el-Shams, or The Gate of the Sun, was set up in protest of Israeli government’s announcement in November of plans to build housing in the disputed area, a move that some critics say will preclude the possibility of a territorially contiguous Palestinian state in the West Bank.

“We have set up 20 tents, and have enough equipment to stay here for a long time,” AFP quoted Abir Kopty, spokeswoman for the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee, saying.

The organizers of the Palestinian outpost said their actions were not symbolic. Rather, their intention was to change the rules of the game and create facts on the ground that they claim as theirs.

“We are building the village because we can not remain silent any longer about the continuing settlement construction and theft of our land, and because we believe in direct action and nationalistic opposition for obtaining our objectives,” the organizers were quoted by Walla saying. They added that they would not leave the premises until the Palestinian owners of the property received their full rights to it.

“Bab el-Shams is our gate to return,” they said.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the protesters had been served documents saying they were trespassing but it wasn’t immediately clear what action, if any, would be taken.

As of Friday early evening, Israeli authorities had not taken action over the outpost.

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