Abu Dis, Palestine – Israel’s border police dismantled the Bawwabet Al Quds (gateway to Jerusalem) protest camp for the sixth time on February 16.
The camp located on the outskirts of Abu Dis, an expanding suburb east of Jerusalem, is a Palestinian popular struggle initiative to protest against Israel’s development plans for the E1 area.
According to the plan, Israel seeks to build some 4,000 housing units for settlers in the corridor linking Jerusalem and the illegal settlement of Maale Adumim, thus securing Jewish demographic continuity and heavily disrupting Palestinian movement between the north and the south of the West Bank.
The developement plan entails negative consequences for the Palestinian communities.
In order to begin construction in the E1 area, Israel intends to forcibly relocate some 2,800 Jahalin Bedouins currently settled there, onto lands that belong to the suburb of Abu Dis.
The Bawwabet Al Quds protest camp is built exactly on the site where part of the Jahalin Bedouins are to be relocated. The camp, activists explain, brings together all the parties affected by the E1 area “development” in order to voice their grievances against designs that do not take their views into account, and will further disconnect Palestinians from Jerusalem.
The Palestinian community of Abu Dis, now cut off from the city by the wall, fears the impact, triggered by losing valuable land, on its natural growth and future.
The Bedouin community, on the other hand, does not wish to be moved onto land taken from someone else and in an urban setting that will not allow them to maintain their pastoral lifestyle.
As the camp was dismantled, activists vowed to continue rebuilding until their voices are heard.