As dozens of activists poured out of their buses, voices from the top of the hill shouted down at them in Arabic. Even without a working knowledge of the language, the message was clear to me: Hurry up and get over the ridge before the soldiers see us. The activists had traveled by convoy to join the roughly 250 people already present in the makeshift village of Bab al-Shams (Gate of the Sun), still a modest spread of sand-colored tents.
Bab al-Shams is in the E1 area, located between East Jerusalem and the existing settlement of Ma’ale Adumim. E1 entered global consciousness in November, when the Israeli government stirred up controversy by announcing it had approved 3,000 new building permits there. The decision came immediately after Palestinians achieved non-member observer status at the United Nations, in keeping with threats made by Israel to accelerate settlement construction if pursuit of the U.N. bid continued. Despite international condemnation of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s announcement, the Israeli government appears ready to press ahead with settlement expansion.
For more on this story, visit: Palestinian tent city challenges Israeli ‘doomsday settlement’ / Waging Nonviolence – People-Powered News and Analysis.