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PHOTOS: Palestinians build village to protest West Bank annexation bill

Police arrest six Palestinians for building a protest village to demonstrate against a bill that would annex the Ma’ale Adumim settlement bloc to Israel.

Photos by Activestills.org, text by Yael Marom

Palestinian activists re-establish the Bab al-Shams protest village to demonstrate against a bill to annex the West Bank settlement bloc of Ma'ale Adumim, January 20, 2017 (Activestills.org)

Palestinian activists re-establish the Bab al-Shams protest village to demonstrate against a bill to annex the West Bank settlement bloc of Ma’ale Adumim, January 20, 2017 (Activestills.org)

Fifty Palestinian activists established a protest village Friday morning adjacent to the West Bank settlement bloc, Ma’ale Adumim, to protest a bill that would annex the area to Israel.

The activists re-erected the Bab al-Shams protest village, four years after it was first built to protest the planned expansion of settlements that would cut the West Bank into two and deny territorial contiguity to any hypothetical Palestinian state.

Israeli police arrest Palestinian demonstrators outside the re-established Bab al-Shams protest village, Ma'ale Adumim, January 20, 2017. (Activestills.org)

Israeli police arrest Palestinian demonstrators outside the re-established Bab al-Shams protest village, Ma’ale Adumim, January 20, 2017. (Activestills.org)

The protest village was timed to coincide with Sunday’s cabinet meeting, where Israeli leaders are set to discuss a bill that calls to apply Israeli civilian law over Ma’ale Adumim, including the ‘E1’ area, which Palestinians say is crucial for any two-state solution.

Shortly after the village was built, Israeli police and Border Police officers were called to the scene to take down the tents. The demonstrators then marched alongside the main road nearby. Six were arrested.

“We are standing on Palestinian land, which Israel claims is part of a park that belongs to Ma’ale Adumim,” one activist told +972. “We are here to say that we oppose the annexation of Ma’ale Adumim. This is Palestinian land, and the entire settlement must be removed from this land.”

Police remove Palestinian flags near the protest village established by Palestinian protesters, Ma'ale Adumim, West Bank, January 20, 2017. (Activestills.org)

Police remove Palestinian flags near the protest village established by Palestinian protesters, Ma’ale Adumim, West Bank, January 20, 2017. (Activestills.org)

The activists also hoped to send a message to the people of Umm el-Hiran in the Negev, showing their solidarity with the victims of home demolitions against Palestinians on both parts of the Green Line. “We hope to send a message of strength to our people in Umm el-Hiran, Al-Araqib, the Naqab, and Qalansuwa, who are victims of home demolitions, just like the Bedouin in East Jerusalem, who are struggling against Israel’s attempt to transfer them to E1.”

This article was first published in Hebrew on Local Call. Read it here

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