fair-housing

The Gate of the Sun: A place of power

Story by RANA ZAKARNA, for The Muleskinner—

Portrait colorAfter 65 years; the Palestinian-Israeli conflict still exists, creating a lot of complexities in recognizing the rights of each part. Even though some peace agreements have been made, they did not stop the ongoing struggle between Palestinians and Israelis.

The international law assures the fact that every single person has the right to live freely in his or her homeland, as well as the right to defend against any attempts to steal their land. Even though Israelis, who are well equipped with an arsenal of strong weapons, are more powerful than Palestinians, this did not stop Palestinians from continuing to defend their right in their land.

Interestingly enough, Israel justifies its actions by creating excuses that what it has been doing against Palestinians is mainly to protect its presence in the state of Israel, which was established on the Palestinian land.

On the other hand, Palestinians react by insisting that Palestine is their own land and Israelis are the one who came and stole it.  So they will never stop resisting until they get it back and have their freedom.

Bab Al Shams village, or “The Gate of Sun” in English, is a clear example of the Palestinian resistance against the awful Israeli actions and decisions. Bab Al Shams is a small village that was established by a group of Palestinians and multi-national activists about three weeks ago. These people preferred to live a primitive life in this village, ignoring the consequences which might happen from the Israeli side.

Bab Al Shams village was established as a reaction to an announcement made by the Israeli government, which includes building about 4,000 settlement housing units in the area Israel refers to as “E1.”

“E1” is an area of about 13 square kilometers in Palestine, which is newly decided to be confiscated by Israel. It is also pretty close to the Ma’ale Adumim Israeli settlement, which lies on occupied West Bank Palestinian land.

“We, the sons and daughters of Palestine from all throughout the land, announce the establishment of Bab Al Shams Village (Gate of the Sun). We the people, without permits from the occupation, without permission from anyone, sit here today because this is our land and it is our right to inhabit it,” said the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee.

The Israeli government gave orders to its soldiers to evacuate the entire village. A huge number of Israeli soldiers surprisingly attacked the village at around 2:40 a.m., forcing the people of the village to leave. The ruthless Israeli soldiers attacked everybody including Palestinians, international activists, medical crews and even press photographers. They arrested whoever refused to leave.

The Israeli soldiers thought that by using their power in emptying Bab Al Shams, Palestinians will stop resisting. The truth is that the Palestinians will never give up, proving their extreme determination to fight for their right in their land.

The residents of Bab Al Shams came once more and tried to enter the confiscated village, but they used a smarter way in order to get to the village: they made a fake wedding. A Palestinian woman pretended to be the bride by wearing a wedding dress and a Palestinian man pretended to be the groom. They both were surrounded with a huge group of people, pretending to be their families and friends. They were dancing and singing as if they were having a real wedding. The press photographers joined them as well, pretending to take pictures of the wedding, but in fact they were getting ready to take pictures of the unexpected event.

The Israeli soldiers allowed the wedding ceremony to pass though the checkpoint that surrounded the village. Once this huge group of people arrived at the village, they started to wave Palestinians flags, cheer and sing Palestinian songs.

The Israeli soldiers, being surprised and shocked from what happened in front of their eyes, started to shoot stun grenades and tear gas to force Palestinians to leave the village.

Bab Al Shams was fully evacuated. However, Palestinians continued to establish new villages for the same purpose, which is preventing Israel from building new settlements. Bab Al Karama, or “The Gate of Dignity” in English, is another village which Palestinians established after the evacuation of Bab Al Shams.

Posted by on January 31, 2013. Filed under Muleskinner,Voices. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

2 Responses to The Gate of the Sun: A place of power

  1. James Reply

    February 2, 2013 at 12:02 am

    And again, more propaganda…

    Let’s start with your characterization of the Bab Al Shams settlement. You described it as “a small village that was established by a group of Palestinians and multi-national activists… These people preferred to live a primitive life in this village.”

    However, Al Jazeera and Electronic Intifada both accurately describe it as an offensively-postured Palestinian protest village. They also state, “In the past year, activists began to take their tactics beyond the weekly ritual of village-based protests, organizing creative direct actions like the blocking of settler access roads and a raucous protest in the Rami Levy settlement supermaket. Bab Al Shams was evidence of the new era of protest in Palestine, attracting Palestinian activists from inside Israel and from northern West Bank cities.”

    A videographer who was part of the protest was quoted as saying, “The people here have so much practice with resistance over the years, and that explains our success. We have a strong system of organization and of deciding what we all want, how to best handle the army, and how to make sure everyone’s needs are looked after.”

    Your implication and picture of a “primitive village” alludes to some wilderness where they were just trying to live their lives. Well, not so much. It was actually on a proposed construction site that Palestinian Muslims oppose. See image here.

    Your next implication is that Israelis immediately marched in and forcibly removed everyone. Also, not true. Israeli officials met with representatives of the camp and the protest group, and peaceably allowed them to remain for six days while the judicial system adjudicated their claim to the land. See image here. Once the courts had ruled they had no claim to the land, and must leave, they refused. Many of the activists tied themselves to the tents. Others put their hands together and sat down in the middle of the small village. See image here.

    Therefore, the police were made to forcibly evacuate the camp. There was no “surprise” raid. There were no “ruthless attacks.” Of the approximately 150 protestors in the camp, only six needed, and were provided with, medical attention. No arrests were made, and Israeli Hummers escorted the buses the protestors had arrived in to the Qalandia checkpoint, where they were greeted by other Palestinians and activists in high spirits.

    I admire your tenacity, but propaganda is propaganda. This protest was nothing more than a publicity stunt by a protest group. It seems to me that if Palestinian Muslims spent as much time trying to coexist as they do trying to resist, there would be a lot less fighting in the region.

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