Palestinians evicted from West Bank protest camp
Palestinians and activists were on Saturday forcefully removed from a new camp near a West Bank village, after a third attempt at the novel form of protest against Jewish settlement.
An AFP correspondent said the army used tear gas and violence to remove hundreds of people who had set up four temporary huts and three tents near Burin, south of Nablus in the northern West Bank.
The correspondent added that journalists were also forcefully removed from the site. He said the army made arrests, but was not aware of injuries.
A spokesman for the army was unaware of the eviction, but said there was “a violent and illegal riot taking place near Burin. Approximately 150 Palestinians were gathering and hurling rocks at IDF (Israel Defence Forces) soldiers, who are responding with riot dispersal means.”
Earlier in the day, residents and activists set up what they called “the neighbourhood… Al-Manatir,” activist Abir Kopty told AFP.
According to Kopty, the name means “the traditional stone huts Palestinians built in their agricultural lands, which were used as shelter for the watchmen of the fields.”
“Burin lost a lot of its land to the settlements around, Har Bracha and others, and is subject to settlers’ terror and attacks on the people,” she said.
She noted that settlers had thrown stones at village residents and activists from afar before the army got involved. The correspondent said that after the eviction, one of the structures was taken away by a group of them.
An Israeli officer had threatened AFP photographer Jaafar Ashtiye as he documented Saturday’s events that he would be arrested at his home during the night.
A military spokesman said in response to an AFP call that such remarks were inappropriate, and that he would investigate the allegation.
Kopty said the encampment was on Burin village land. She also noted that there were “small attempts here and there, but this was the third massive” such undertaking.
In January, Palestinians put up a 24-tent protest camp on disputed land on the eastern outskirts of Jerusalem, dubbed Bab al-Shams or Gate of the Sun in Arabic, in a bid to draw attention to Israeli plans to build in the area, known as E1.
Later that month, activists set up an encampment of four tents and a structure under construction to protest against Israel’s intention to confiscate land near Beit Iksa northwest of Jerusalem, naming it Bab al-Karama, or “Gate of Dignity.”
Both encampments were later removed by the Israeli military which controls those parts of the West Bank.