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WATCH: Israeli forces dismantle West Bank protest camp

Soldiers dismantle a protest camp built by Palestinians, Israelis, and diaspora Jews in the south Hebron Hills — less than 48 hours after it was built.


Video by Ahmad al-Bazz/Activestills.org

Dozens of Israeli soldiers dismantled on Saturday night a protest camp in the West Bank village of Sarura, which was established by Palestinians, Israelis, and diaspora Jewish activists a day earlier. At the time of the dismantling, around 80 people were there, roughly 60 American Jews and 20 Palestinians.

The camp, called “Sumud: Freedom Camp,” was built in the south Hebron Hills on the former site of Sarura, whose residents were expelled by Israeli forces between 1980 and 1998. The residents have been unable to return to their land due to a combination of military orders and ongoing violence and harassment from Israeli settlers. As a result, Sarura was completely depopulated from 1998 until Friday, when the village was re-established.

After nearly 48 hours of restoration work, soldiers came in without a military order and began taking the camp apart, disconnecting it from electricity and confiscating all the equipment. Meanwhile the activists chanted in English, “We will build this tent again!” “The whole world is watching” and “There is no other time, Jews must stand with Palestine!” Some also yelled out, “What will I tell me congregation about this back home?” and “What will I tell my Hebrew school students?”

No arrests were made, nor was anyone was forced to leave the camp. According to people on the ground, some were shoved to the ground, while and a few of the Jewish activists were punched. As of Saturday night, there was virtually no coverage of the event in Hebrew, except for on Local Call.

Palestinian, Israeli and international Jewish activists build a protest camp in Surara, West Bank, May 19, 2017. (Photo: Ahmad Bazz/Activestills.org)

Palestinian, Israeli and international Jewish activists build a protest camp in Surara, West Bank, May 19, 2017. (Photo: Ahmad Bazz/Activestills.org)

The action, linked directly to the 50-year anniversary of Israel’s occupation, took place in the shadow of a mass Palestinian hunger strike and protests taking place across other parts of the West Bank, in which dozens of Palestinians have been wounded, as well as President Trump’s visit to Israel on Monday. Israeli media essentially has ignored the story.

The encampment was organized by an anti-occupation coalition of groups, including the Center for Jewish Nonviolence, local Palestinian committees, Youth Against Settlements, the All That’s Left Collective, the Holy Land Trust and Combatants for Peace. Members of the Jewish American anti-occupation group, IfNotNow, also participated in the action.

While Palestinians in the West Bank have been engaged in nonviolent protests against Israeli occupation for many years, and Israelis have joined them in solidarity, this is likely the biggest delegation of diaspora Jews ever to come Palestine in order to engage in direct action against Israeli policies in the West Bank. The Jewish activists, primarily from North America but which included a handful from Australia and Europe, are challenging the Israeli occupation because they say it violates their Jewish values.

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    COMMENTS

    1. Firentis

      Well, they came, had their little morality play, took some selfies and now they can go home, or I should say, now they can be deported home and banned from the country for ten years. Hope you guys had fun carrying rocks from point A to point B. 🙂

      Reply to Comment
      • Bruce Gould

        @Firentis: Barcelona adopts declaration condemning Israeli occupation, supporting BDS

        http://www.maannews.com/Content.aspx?id=776548

        BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Barcelona’s City Council passed an official declaration on Wednesday supporting Palestinian human rights by ending the city’s complicity with the Israeli occupation and recognizing the right to organize with the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

        Reply to Comment
        • Firentis

          Meaningless declarations at the UN haven’t had any impact, hard to imagine a declaration of the Barcelona City Council having much of one. Cheers.

          Reply to Comment
          • Joshua Fisher

            Multiple hasbara troll postings have no impact on International Law at all. Your occupation is still ilegal, you can whine and weep as loud as you spoiled kids can. Facts are still facts.

            Reply to Comment
          • Firentis

            It is ours. We live in it. We control it. It is our homeland and always will be. And there is nothing you can do about it. All you have are meaningless words and phrases that you repeat like a parrot. These are the facts.

            Have a good night. 🙂

            Reply to Comment
          • Firentis

            For the Arabs it is all the same. For the leftists that populate this website it is all the same. I could be a settler and I might live in the center. It is all ours. We are willing to share as long as we have our own secure country, but it is definitely ours.

            Reply to Comment
          • Joshua Fisher

            Definitely ours, that’s aht the Burs said in Siuth Africa.

            Reply to Comment
          • Firentis

            Helpful advice — your keyboard is broken.

            Reply to Comment
      • Ben

        Firentis, the West Bank is not your country. You have no right to ban anyone from it. The issue is indeed morality. And justice. But it’s no play.

        Reply to Comment
        • i_like_ike52

          Who says the West Bank is not “our country”? The Balfour Declaration and the League of Nations mandate says it is. But, more important, it is the heartland of the ancient Jewish homeland. A 1949 temporary cease-fire line that the Palestinians themselves refuse to recognize as any sort of international border (recall their demand to force Israel to accept the Palestinian refugees shows they do not recognize Israeli sovereignity even inside the 1949 armistice lines).

          Reply to Comment
          • David

            Reality:

            UN Security Council Resolution 2334, December 23, 2016: “Guided by the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations [binding on all UN members], and reaffirming, inter alia, the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by force,

            “Reaffirming the obligation of Israel, the occupying Power, to abide scrupulously by its legal obligations and responsibilities under the Fourth Geneva Convention [binding on all UN members and ratified by Israel] relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 12 August 1949, and recalling the advisory opinion rendered on 9 July 2004 by the International Court of Justice,
            “Condemning all measures aimed at altering the demographic composition, character and status of the Palestinian Territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, including, inter alia, the construction and expansion of settlements, transfer of Israeli settlers, confiscation of land, demolition of homes and displacement of Palestinian civilians, in violation of international humanitarian law and relevant resolutions,….”

            “1. Reaffirms that the establishment by Israel of settlements in the Palestinian territory occupied since 1967, including East Jerusalem, has no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law and a major obstacle to the achievement of the two-State solution and a just, lasting and comprehensive peace;
            “2. Reiterates its demand that Israel immediately and completely cease all settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, and that it fully respect all of its legal obligations in this regard;
            “3. Underlines that it will not recognize any changes to the 4 June 1967 lines, including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the parties through negotiations;..”

            Contrary to the nonsense spewed forth by you and your ilk, there is no special provision in international law that enables Israel to violate it with impunity.

            Reply to Comment
          • Joshua Fisher

            You got your land from the UN in 48. Everything else is NOT your land. regardless what any declaration before or after may told you. And even more regardless what’s written in ancient fairytale books, written by your people themselves.

            Reply to Comment
          • Firentis

            How did “we get our land from the UN in 48”? There is no part of that sentence that is true.

            Reply to Comment
        • Firentis

          Of course we do. The future status of the West Bank is disputed, but that is neither here nor there. Israel is the legal occupying power and has the right to maintain law and order. According to the Oslo agreement which was signed between Israel and the PLO Israel is responsible for controlling the border crossings and is responsible for order and security in Area C, which these people were in. And this is all just to deal with your next objection of not letting people cross the Allenby crossing from Jordan.

          But of course these people came through Ben Gurion and then crossed through checkpoints to get into the West Bank. We certainly have the right to control who gets to enter our undisputed territory.

          Have a nice day.

          Reply to Comment
          • David

            Utter nonsense.

            Israel’s belligerent/brutal occupations of the Palestinian West Bank, including East Jerusalem, as well as its siege of the Gaza Strip are illegal, i.e, in blatant violation of the 1949 Fourth Geneva Convention, which is binding on all UN members and has been ratified by Israel.
            Get educated!!

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            ​Israel is of course not the legal or the legally behaving occupying power. The occupation is illegal. It is a statement of remarkable perversity to say that “Israel is the occupying power and has the right to maintain law and order” while at the very same time Israel, as we know, flagrantly violates law and order systematically, in an ordinary on the ground sense, and flagrantly violates customary international law and the Geneva Conventions with respect to transferring its own population into these territories. And abuses rather than protects the indigenous inhabitants of those territories in all sorts of ways, systematically, strategically, tactically. Based on race. This having it both ways won’t convince anybody who knows anything. Of course.

            Reply to Comment
          • Firentis

            I really like it when I can get to respond to two comments at the same time. I also like it when my opponents are clearly factually mistaken.

            A military occupation as a result of the exercise of self-defense is a legal situation and is recognized as such by the Geneva conventions. You are on solid ground arguing that certain actions undertaken by the IDF in the West Bank are considered illegal by the international community. You are entirely wrong about the actual legal status of the military occupation – it is very much legal. And as part of that military occupation Israel is entirely within its rights to ensure law and order in the “occupied territories” and to prevent provocateurs from entering the territories.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            For the reasons David and I stated but which you actually ignore and don’t counter, you are wrong. But even in the simplest most straightforward way you are not on solid ground: the 50 year occupation is, to anyone not willfully blind, not self defense or the result of self defense. For those still halfway willing to believe this falsehood, Yehuda Shaul explains:
            https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=JxHE4KrLvj0

            See also the May, 2017 essay in Haaretz by right wing general and elder Zionist statesman Ehud Barak on Israel’s true defense needs. He’s still angling for a continuation of the occupation and status quo by other means and he is right winger in leftist clothing, peddling a cover for maintaining ultranationalism and the security cult, but at least he is honest about and argues well for why the occupation of the West Bank hill country, or “Judea and Samaria ridge line” as the right would have it, is not a defense matter and is about something else entirely.

            Reply to Comment
          • Firentis

            Your and David argue that Israel commits some actions that are contrary to international law. That doesn’t change the fact that Israel occupied the territory as a result of a defensive war and that such control of territory is entirely legal according to international law. This is why UNSC resolutions all make Israeli withdrawal from the territory conditional on the achievement of peace and secure borders.

            Links to pro-Palestinian propagandists like Yehuda Shaul or Gideon Levy isn’t going to change that.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            ​Resolution 242 calls for the withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories occupied in “the recent conflict” and for the right to live within secure and recognized boundaries but it does not condition withdrawal on boundaries being defined first. Resolution 2334 underlined that it would not recognize any changes to the 4 June 1967 lines, including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the two sides through negotiations. The spirit of both resolutions is that withdrawal is a step towards a secure peace not something that follows boundaries being established. But all of this is an academic distraction. Israel obviously has no incentive to establish secure boundaries–its land grab *depends upon* a lack of boundaries, and *depends upon* creating insecurity. Israel has no intention of withdrawing in any event. We can say this with confidence because Israel’s unstinting and flagrant violations of international law and the Geneva Conventions *during* its belligerent occupation make it as plain as day that it can have no such intention regarding the future.

            A peremptory dismissal of an argument, unread, is a reflection on you. What Yehuda Shaul shows, with unsurpassed authority, is that the occupation is not about defense, is not about security, never was.
            Yehuda Shaul and Ehud Barak are “pro-Palestinian”? Sigh. Saying that certainly won’t change anything.

            Reply to Comment
          • Firentis

            Both resolutions condition withdrawal on agreement to secure and mutually agreed borders. In other words, the Israeli occupation of the former Jordanian territory as a result of the 1967 war is entirely legal.

            Yep. Yehuda Shaul is a European-paid pro-Palestinian propagandist. Ehud Barak is just an ass.

            Reply to Comment
    2. i_like_ike52

      The Americans who participated in this are what people call “conflict tourists”. Some people enjoy visiting places of tension. There are some who go to really hot places like Syria, and have paid with their lives. This group, many of whom photographed themselves confronting Israeli troops prefer a much more “comfortable” confrontation, knowing that Israeli troops aren’t going to do anything to them. Now they can go back home and show the pictures to their friends and impress them with how heroic they were.

      I looked at the Facebook page of a rabbi who is in the group. He has a photo of him planting a sapling. Very moving. He really made a difference in the Arab/Israeli conflict.
      No doubt his congregants will really be impressed.

      A few years ago, another rabbi/Israel-basher-“progressive” went to Rwanda and had himself photographed towering over a group of young Rwandan kinds. Here is the big-hearted white man who has come to help these unfortunates. Then he returned home with the photo. Interestingly anoung, a young fellow who was also in the group said he didn’t want to show similar photos of himself because he felt that coming for a few days doesn’t really do much to help these people and he didn’t want to be viewed as being some sort of hero for participating in the group. He simply wanted to become aware of the situation. If he really wanted to help, he would join the Peace Corps and spend some real time and effort with the Rwandas.
      The same criticism can be leveled at these Americans who came on this delegation.

      BTW-The Palestinians claim some had been forced to leave the caves they lived in. Now, had Israel let them stay (and I do not claim to know the legal situation there), the same group would have come, seen the Palestinians living in the caves and said “look how terrible Israel is, forcing people to live in caves!”.

      Reply to Comment
      • Ben

        The real, true conflict tourist in the West Bank is the transplanted American settler. Living an ersatz, pseudo-heroic, Disneyland kitsch Jewish version of the Wild Wild West. Protected to hilt, baby sat, by a massive army. While he swaggers around pretending to be a “pioneer.” Or he is the equivalent locally grown Israeli fanatic preening himself as Moses’ grandson. All the while waited on and coddled at every step by a massive army. Like little bullies playing Cowboys and Indians but hiding behind mama’s skirts to attack the Indians.

        You don’t claim to know the “legal situation” in the south Hebron hills? Is that right? Never bothered to look into it? Let me help you, an introduction:

        David Shulman:
        “Susya is a microcosm of the Israeli occupation, a lucid embodiment of its norms and habits. Only the scale of the planned expulsion is a little unusual; normally the process, though relentless, proceeds in smaller steps. Note that the legal aspect of the situation, which I’ve only outlined, is little more than a superstructure, one might even say a distant theory; on the ground what one sees is a refined form of human malevolence, incapable of justification in rational terms. The Israeli army, the police, the bureaucrats of the Civil Administration, the government, the cabinet, the Knesset, the military and civilian courts, and large parts of the Israeli press—all are deeply implicated in an act, or a series of acts, of gratuitous violence inflicted on innocent human beings, in broad daylight. No one should pretend that any of this is anything but a crime.”
        http://www.nybooks.com/blogs/nyrblog/2012/jun/28/susya-demolition-israeli-occupation/

        Reply to Comment
        • Itshak Gordin Halevy

          The Jewish American pioneers living in Judea-Samaria have their Israeli passport and have made aliya. They are living in Eretz Israel according to the holy torah. The American tourists who came in the south of Hebron are foreigners who get involved in Israeli politics. They made absolute fools of themselves. I greet you all from the Jewish united Jerusalem freed 50 years ago.

          Reply to Comment
          • carmen

            Says the foreigner with a Swiss passport.

            Reply to Comment
          • Itshak Gordin Halevy

            I do not know whether there a lot of Swiss citizens who disrupt the public order here in Israel. But I know dozens of young Jewish boys and girls who made aliyah (and of course got an Israeli passport) who live now in Judea and Samaria with their children. What is wonderful is that their parents followed them. Israel is a country of miracles..

            Reply to Comment
          • zee

            Unless you’re a non-jew, Mizrahi who loves Arabic and speaks it, African, Asian or Palestinian then that miracle is not only a lie – its the Jewish version of white supremacy.

            Reply to Comment
          • Itshak Gordin Halevy

            Absolutely not, we have here in Israel African, Chinese, Indian and converted Jews without any problem. They are our brothers and sisters.

            Reply to Comment
          • Itshak Gordin Halevy

            Who is this Mizrahi? It seems that you do not understand anything in the Jewish people.

            Reply to Comment
        • Joshua Fisher

          ” ersatz, pseudo-heroic, Disneyland kitsch Jewish version of the Wild Wild West.”

          Well spoken. I like that.

          Reply to Comment
          • Itshak Gordin Halevy

            No, bad spoken. It is not neither pseudo nor kitch. The reality: 650000 Jewish live in Judea and Samaria with a very high birth rate..

            Reply to Comment
      • carmen

        Oh waaaaahhhhh! It’s really a bitch being on the wrong side of morality, humanity and history isn’t it. Nobody’s forcing you to choke down that bitter pill every morning. You don’t like the outrage? You can dish it out, but sure can’t take it Ike. Embarrassing when the rest of the world is witness to this isn’t it? No wonder booboo and tRUMP are so in love with the notion of walls….

        Reply to Comment
    3. Willem Sassen

      Israelis need to be sent back home to Poland and Brooklyn

      Reply to Comment
      • Itshak Gordin Halevy

        Extreme right and extreme left join together: racist and antisemitic.. Thank you for your comment. It was helpful.

        Reply to Comment
        • Ben

          ‘Willem Sassen’ is almost certainly a right wing troll under the guise of a “leftist” anti-Semitic extremist. His purpose is to smear the left by “agreeing” with +972 authors using a twisted, extremist pose. He resurfaces from time to time here.
          So Halevy, you took the bait immediately, but it is interesting how you call him “extreme right and extreme left”–which does kind of capture what he is doing, but you also call him racist and anti-Semitic without the slightest awareness that you, routinely, display extremism and raw racism on behalf of Jews and against Arabs.
          What is the difference between saying Jews need to move back to Brooklyn and Poland and saying Jews need to take over Arab persons’ land and resources and the Arabs need to move to Jordan?

          Reply to Comment
          • Itshak Gordin Halevy

            You are mistaken. Arabs of Eretz Israel can live here peacefully if they respect our sovereignty and our laws like the Druze. The Torah requires that we respect the foreigners living among us.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            Great news. When’s extension of the franchise, full equal rights and equal protection of the laws coming to all in your peaceful paradise of sovereignty and laws?

            “The Torah requires that we respect the foreigners living among us.”

            You mean like this? ==>

            Asylum seekers say Israeli authorities use food to pressure them
            https://972mag.com/asylum-seekers-say-israeli-authorities-use-food-to-pressure-them/108663/

            Reply to Comment
          • Itshak Gordin Halevy

            Did they receive the authorization to come to Israel according to the law? Do these people really tell the truth?

            Reply to Comment
          • Itshak Gordin Halevy

            These foreigners came to Israel without authorization. Foreigners have to respect our laws. It is the same everywhere in the world (Europe, USA, etc)

            Reply to Comment
    4. Michael

      Thank god for the IDF. Why dont you build something useful for someone worthy?

      Reply to Comment
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