Palestinians Play Settlers at their own Game

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Ben Cohen
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Around 200 Palestinian activists began pitching tents in the highly controversial Israeli-occupied West Bank territory defined as 'E1', announcing the establishment of a village named Bab al-Shams (Arabic for “Gate of the Sun”). From the NYTimes:

Adopting a tactic more commonly employed by Jewish settlers who establish wildcat outposts in the West Bank, scores of Palestinian activists erected tents on Friday in a hotly contested piece of Israeli-occupied West Bank territory known as E1, and they said they intended to stay put.

The Palestinians claim E1, just east of Jerusalem, as part of a future state. The protest comes six weeks after Israel announced that it was moving forward with plans for thousands of settlement homes in E1, stirring international outrage.

The Israeli military authorities arrived Friday and handed the protesters notices warning them that they were illegally trespassing and that they had to leave, according to a police spokesman, Micky Rosenfeld. Mr. Rosenfeld said he expected movement “at some point,” with the protesters either leaving voluntarily or by force.

But the protesters said that they had anticipated such action by Israeli security forces and that their lawyers had already gone to the Israeli Supreme Court to argue for a delay in any evacuation until the state details the grounds for such a move. Protest leaders said the court had given the state six days to respond.

These type of non-violent tactics could be extremely effective in embarrassing Israel on the international stage. The move forces Israel to condemn the very same actions they are participating in (except in this case the territory is actually Palestinian). Israel will no doubt respond with force and move the settlers, again illustrating to the rest of the world that they are a colonial force in Palestinian land and not a serious partner for a just peace.