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E1 protest camp steadfast despite Israeli demolitions, snow storm

Feb. 21, 2015 12:26 P.M. (Updated: Feb. 23, 2015 8:32 P.M.)
JERUSALEM (Ma'an) -- Despite the severe winter storm over the last two days and continuing Israeli military pressure, Palestinian popular resistance activists stayed put at the Gateway to Jerusalem protest camp overnight Friday.

"Our permanent presence here is a message of defiance and firmness in the face of the Israeli plans, including the 2020 and the E1 plans whose goal is to separate Jerusalem and confiscate lands which constitute about one third of the West Bank," Hani Halabiya, spokesman for the local popular resistance committees in East Jerusalem told Ma'an.

Braving frigid rains, thunderstorms, and temperatures below zero, the activists slept in the camp just outside Abu Dis in the central West Bank overnight Friday.

The camp has already been demolished by Israeli military forces eight times since it was first set up three weeks ago. Every time Israeli soldiers have bulldozed the camp, however, activists have almost immediately rebuilt.

The camp was established in order to protest Israeli plans to confiscate large swathes of lands in the central West Bank known as E1 for Jewish-only settlement construction, which would also displace tens of thousands of Palestinian Bedouins.

Halabiya said that confiscation of the lands known as the E1 corridor would prevent contiguity between the northern and the southern West Bank district and eventually "prevent the creation of a Palestinian state."

Despite the weather, Halabiya told Ma'an that several Palestinians from East Jerusalem and the West Bank had newly joined the encampment, and many had come to express their solidarity.

Among those who came was deputy chairman of the Palestine Liberation Organization committee against Israel's separation wall and settlements Jamil Barghouthi, whose predecessor Ziad Abu Ein died after Israeli soldiers attacked a demonstration against land confiscation in December.

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