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Israeli forces raid Palestinian-Jewish protest camp for third time in 10 days

Israeli soldiers and police officers showed up at the Sumud Freedom Camp in the south Hebron hills on Monday morning, confiscating and destroying property and detaining three Palestinian activists.

Israeli forces raiding the Sumud Freedom Camp, Sarura, West Bank, May 29, 2017. (Nasser Nawajah)

Israeli forces raiding the Sumud Freedom Camp, Sarura, West Bank, May 29, 2017. (Nasser Nawajah)

Israeli soldiers and Border Police raided the Sumud Freedom Camp in the south Hebron hills for the third time on Monday morning, destroying and confiscating property and detaining three Palestinian activists. The anti-occupation encampment, built and inhabited by Palestinians, Israelis and diaspora Jews, had already been torn down twice in the past 10 days.

Israeli forces damaged and confiscated two tents, along with items such as mattresses, water and generator cables that were inside a cave at the encampment, according to a press release sent out by the organizers. They also destroyed banners that had been displayed at the camp, and confiscated a car. The three Palestinians who had been detained were released after the raid had finished.

Settlers descended from the nearby radical Havat Ma’on outpost to observe the proceedings, and representatives from Regavim — a pro-settler organization that seeks to obstruct Palestinian building in the Israeli-controlled Area C of the West Bank — were also at the scene.

An Israeli soldier walks away with a Palestinian flag during a raid on the Sumud Freedom Camp, Sarura, West Bank, May 29, 2017. (Nasser Nawajah)

An Israeli soldier walks away with a Palestinian flag during a raid on the Sumud Freedom Camp, Sarura, West Bank, May 29, 2017. (Nasser Nawajah)

The raid coincided with the third day of Ramadan. Sami Hureini, a local activist from a-Tuwaneh, told +972 Magazine that activists have been marking the holiday by sitting down together for an iftar each evening, and that Palestinian members of the camp who are fasting have been staying up for the night shift to keep watch, going to sleep at 4 a.m. Monday’s raid occurred shortly after they had gone to bed.

Israeli forces raiding the Sumud Freedom Camp, Sarura, West Bank, May 29, 2017. (Nasser Nawajah)

Israeli forces raiding the Sumud Freedom Camp, Sarura, West Bank, May 29, 2017. (Nasser Nawajah)

Sumud Freedom Camp, inspired by Standing Rock, is located on the grounds of Sarura, a Palestinian village that was gradually depopulated between 1980 and 1998 due to ongoing army and settler violence. The establishment of the camp on May 19 marked the return of Sarura’s residents to their homes for the first time in nearly 20 years. Mohammad Aamar, the son of one of the residents who had returned to the village, was among those detained on Monday.

The camp is now in its 13th day. Activists have rebuilt after each raid, raising funds to replace and repair damaged and confiscated goods. The coalition of Palestinian and Jewish groups that organized the encampment — local Palestinian committees, the Center for Jewish Nonviolence, the Holy Land Trust, All That’s Left and Combatants for Peace — have continued to call for activists around the world to join them in their nonviolent protest, and stress that the camp will stay in place for as long as possible.

Palestinian women and girls stand around a Palestinian flag, Sumud Freedom Camp, Sarura, West Bank, May 29, 2017. (Nasser Nawajah)

Palestinian women and girls stand around a Palestinian flag, Sumud Freedom Camp, Sarura, West Bank, May 29, 2017. (Nasser Nawajah)

“It is clear that the Israeli military is actively working to prevent Palestinians from returning to their lands,” said Antwan Saca, assistant director of the Holy Land Trust. “As a member of a coalition of Palestinian, international and Israeli activists, we will continue to stand in solidarity with the people of Sarura and to nonviolently resist this strategy.”

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    1. Ben

      It’s amazing isn’t it? Jewish persons set up a bunch of “unauthorized” tents and trailers anywhere they want and the IDF doesn’t dare touch them. Arab and Jewish persons together set up a few “unauthorized tents and the army rushes in and destroys it within hours. Apartheid!

      Reply to Comment
      • Itshak Gordin Halevy

        No, law, like everywhere in the world..

        Reply to Comment
          • Reality Check

            I don’t know if you know anything about Apartheid South Africa or simply but the list you linked included Group Areas Act, Act No 41 of 1950 which was a key element in the system, you can read up about it.
            In Israel, Land Law derives from the Mandatory British and Ottoman statutes under which public lands cannot be sold but they are leased for private use. The High Court has ruled that not only all such transactions are subject to public tender and open to all citizens without discrimination and that is applied in practice.
            On the other hand the Palestinian Authority has a “Property Law for Foreigners” based on the Jordanian statutes. The essence of law is quite simple, no Palestinian may sell or lease or rent any property to a Jew and those who break the law face Capital Punishment. A number of death sentences have been pronounced but none carried out yet. This in addition to the extra-judicial murder of Arab property owners or agents for selling land to Jews as practiced over the past century.
            So actually the situation is far worse than Apartheid South Africa, but you are looking in the wrong direction be it purposely or from ignorance.
            You might want to read http://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/PA-affirms-death-penalty-for-land-sales-to-Israelis

            Reply to Comment
          • Itshak Gordin Halevy

            The “Palestinian” authority is apartheid.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ron Temis

            What a nasty country we are Natasha. Yet, we ,et you come here to spew your hated of us on a daily basis. I wonder if you lived in Gaza and spoke about Gazans that way, how long would you last.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            ​@Reality Check: Of course this is not true. This is actually a quite deceiving representation of reality not a “check.” To say “The High Court has ruled that not only all such transactions are subject to public tender and open to all citizens without discrimination and that is applied in practice” is just not true.

            U.S. State Department report : “Approximately 93 percent of land in the country was public domain, including that owned by the state and 13 percent owned by the Jewish National Fund (JNF). All public land by law may only be leased, not sold. The JNF’s statutes prohibit the sale or lease of land to non-Jews. In October, 2004 civil rights groups petitioned the High Court of Justice claiming that a bid announcement by the Israel Land Administration (ILA) involving JNF land was discriminatory in that it banned Arabs from bidding. The ILA halted marketing JNF land in the North and the Galilee. In December, Adalah petitioned the High Court to annul definitively the ILA policy. At year’s end there had been no court action.”

            The JNF thus systematically discriminates against Arab citizens of Israel, who make up a fifth of the population. JNF lands policy is institutionalized discrimination.
            Discrimination against non-Jews was established early in regard to land control and citizenship. The state has obviously used public lands preferentially for its Jewish majority by making land available to Jews for development, and denying building permits and the ability to develop land to Palestinians. This is incontestable. It is systematic discrimination.

            More deeply, obviously, the state established discriminatory preferences about who could immigrate, return to, or stay in the land as a citizen. And this does not even touch the subject of all the Arabs inhabitants who were forcibly removed from lands.

            In addition, privately run “admissions committees” in communities in the Galilee and the Negev, fostered by a 2010 law passed in the Knesset, are given wide latitude over public lands, and though on the surface it is forbidden to bar applicants based on race, religion, and political affiliation, it is quite clear that these committees function in practice to keep Arabs citizens out. This law was designed to do this and it does do this. In 2014 the Israeli Supreme Court upheld this “Admissions Committees Law” that effectively allows Israeli Jewish communities to exclude Arab citizens.

            All of the above constitutes a system of apartheid. And this is all on the western side of the Green Line. No one can deny that the entity comprising Israel and the territories it occupies constitutes a vastly larger and much more severe form of apartheid.

            Reply to Comment
          • Itshak Gordin Halevy

            This is your opinion but not that of most of the jurists. Please do not forget that you are a leftist with obsessions. If you really want to fight for justice and against double standards please ask the right for Jews to pray on the Temple mount. You can also fight for the 800’000 Jews who have been expelled from the Arab countries in the 50’s and 60’s.

            Reply to Comment