Activists set up tents at Maale Adumim settlement, West Bank to protest annexation bill

Dozens of supporters and activists on Friday set up tents in a park at the illegal Maale Adumim settlement in the occupied West Bank, establishing the Bab al-Shams village on lands surrounding the settlement near the controversial E-1 corridor.

Activists said that they had set up the Bab al-Shams village, or “Gate of the Sun,” to protest illegal Israeli settlements and against the US President Donald Trump, who is expected to give a green light to further Israeli annexation of occupied Palestinian territory, as a bill to annex Maale Adumim is planned to be introduced to Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, on Sunday, just two days after the controversial American figure assumes office.

Activist Abdullah Abu Raheh reiterated that setting up the Bab al-Shams village was an act to protest the annexation bill expected to be approved by the Knesset. The bill will be proposed by Israel’s ultra-right Education Minister Naftali Bennett.

 Israeli forces detained six activists that had arrived at the park and attempted to set up Bab al-Shams, as Israeli forces surrounded the village and expelled protesters and journalists from the area, in addition to issuing tickets for media vehicles.Journalists and photographers were also prevented from taking pictures during the event.Israeli forces also delivered notices to journalists preventing them from being on the main street.

One Palestinian journalist told Ma’an News Agency that he received a ticket from Israeli forces for “walking by foot.”The name of the village was inspired by Lebanese author Elias Khoury’s novel, which tells the story of Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, and was based on a similar protest in 2013 when dozens of tents were erected in the E-1 corridor, including a medical clinic, to protest Israeli settlement building.

 The E-1 plan aims to develop the area around Maale Adumim for settlement construction, essentially creating an urban settler bloc between Maale Adumim and Jerusalem that would further isolate occupied East Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank, effectively dividing the West Bank and making the creation of a contiguous Palestinian state — as envisaged by the internationally backed two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict — almost impossible.

Maale Adumim is the third largest settlement in population size, encompassing a large swath of land deep inside the occupied West Bank. Many Israelis consider it an Israeli suburban city of Jerusalem, despite it being located on occupied Palestinian territory in contravention of international law.

Calls to annex the massive settlement — to pave the way for the annexation of the majority of the occupied West Bank — have gained momentum among Israel’s lawmakers and ministers following the passage of a UN resolution condemning Israeli settlements and reaffirming their clear illegality.
Bennett reacted to the UN Security Council’s resolution by calling on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to rescind his support for the two-state solution and the creation of a Palestinian state, which Bennett perceives to be a security threat to the state of Israel.

“No resolution can change the fact that this land, Jerusalem, is our capital. And no people can be a conqueror in their own land. That’s why this resolution, like many of the earlier resolutions, will be thrown into the dustbin of history,” Bennett said.

Following the election of Donald Trump as the next US president, Bennett said that a Trump presidency would mark the end of a push for the establishment of an independent Palestinian state.

“This is the position of the President-elect, as written in his platform, and it should be our policy, plain and simple. The era of a Palestinian state is over,” he said.