On January 11, 2013, 250 men and women from across Palestine established a new Palestinian village named “Bab Al shams” (Gate of the Sun).
We, the sons and daughters of Palestine from all throughout the land, announce the establishment of Bab Alshams 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.
A few months ago the Israeli government announced its intention to build about 4000 settlement housing units in the area Israel refers to as E1. E1 block is an area of about 13 square km that falls on confiscated Palestinian land East of Jerusalem between Ma’ale Adumim settlement, which lies on occupied West Bank Palestinian land, and Jerusalem. We will not remain silent as settlement expansion and confiscation of our land continues. Therefore we hereby establish the village of Bab Alshams to proclaim our faith in direct action and popular resistance. We declare that the village will stand steadfast until the owners of this land will get their right to build on their land.
They added that the establishment of Bab Al-Shams village is an implementation of the Palestinian right to self-determination guaranteed by the first article of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (December 16, 1966).
On Tuesday, for the second time, Israeli soldiers fired gas bombs, rubber-coated metal bullets and gas bombs to disperse nonviolent activists of the Bab Al-Shams Palestinian village. The Israeli army declared E1 area (where Israel intends to build thousands of units for Jewish settlers on Palestinian lands) as a “closed military zone”, defying Israel’s High Court’s temporary injunction that barred the state from evacuating the encampment and some 250 campers registered to stay overnight in solidarity.
Patrick O. Strickland writes:
Israel’s staunchest supporters often tout the country’s High Court as indisputable evidence of its democratic character. They point to instances where the court ruled against the state or the military, such as a few instances in the past when rulings ordered that the separation wall be rerouted not to steal private Palestinian land.
Instances like the assault on Bab Al-Shams, however, strip all semblances of legitimacy from this line of argument. A necessary component of genuine democracy is the separation of powers. In the United States, the divisions are between the executive, legislative, and judicial branches. In most European democracies, on the other hand, the crux division is between the executive and judicial. In Israel, it would seem, the executive branch has the power to order the military to explicitly defy the rulings of its judicial branch.
Considering the impunity of its security forces and the exclusively Jewish character of the state, the country is more like an apartheid state ran by a military autocracy that permits select displays of democratic participation.
By evicting activists from land ruled legally Palestinian by the Israeli High Court, the military, under Netanyahu’s auspices, showed that its interest in hegemony, aptly served by its colonial settler front, always eclipses the commitment to democracy.
The role of Israel’s government, military, and related corporations and organizations in a global industry of violence and repression has been documented by a recent report: Israel’s Worldwide Role in Repression. The states most involved with this industry profit from perpetual war and occupation across the globe while maintaining vastly unequal societies of their own.