Palestinian Refugees in Shu`fat Defend Their Presence in Jerusalem
Posted inNews /

Palestinian Refugees in Shu`fat Defend Their Presence in Jerusalem

***image2***Palestinians in Shu`fat Refugee Camp, northeast Jerusalem, have mobilized a long-term campaign against the Zionist plan to expel them from their city of Jerusalem through the Apartheid Wall. A protest tent was inaugurated today as a centralized site of local gathering, strategy, and the dissemination of information against the Wall. As hundreds of people gathered under the tent, Palestinians vocalized clear and powerful messages that challenge the political underpinnings of the Zionist vision to Judaize Jerusalem.

The Palestinian refugee is, perhaps, the most striking symbol of the Nakbe— the tragic emblem of the Palestinian struggle—and testament of steadfast Palestinian resistance that destabilizes the core of Zionist ideology. Shu`fat Refugee Camp exists as a poignant reminder to Occupation Forces that the Palestinian presence cannot be exterminated. With this, the Apartheid Wall is a decisive tool that seeks to actualize the broader Zionist goals to colonize Jerusalem by isolating the Refugee Camp, Anata and Dahiyat Assalam. In doing so, the Wall will facilitate a broader Zionist aim to reduce the number of Palestinians in Jerusalem by denying their existence within it. Thousands of workers coming from different places in the West Bank will also find themselves without work or sources of livelihood. The Wall in this area of Jerusalem—where more than thirty thousand Palestinians live— will surround the Shu’fat Refugee Camp, Anata, and Dahiyat Assalam from all sides, incarcerating these communities into ethnoracial prisons in order to connect the northeast settlement of Pisgat Ze’ev to Ma`ale Adumin, via the “New Anatot” or the so-called Anatot Hadasha settlement to be built on Anata’s lands.

For more than a year, the Occupation Forces have attempted—with cooperation from US officials and Israeli lawyers claiming to represent the “interests” of the people—to persuade the camp to negotiate the Wall’s path through various proposed arrangements. The most common proposition was to change the wall’s path, whereby both the camp and Dahyat Assalam will stay in Jerusalem. In this case, however, the Wall will run directly through the middle of Anata, cutting between the houses and at certain points, even through them. Additional “offers” included adding more gates and Occupation Forces buying the lands in the Wall’s path, and those isolated behind it. These terms were adamantly rejected by the people in Sh’ufat and Dahyet Salam, who understand clearly that any conditions of so-called negotiation only aim to legitimize the Wall’s existence. The people in the Camp, Anata, and Dahat Assalam choose, instead, to target their resistance directly towards the complete destruction of the Wall and the broader Zionist attempts to remove them from Jerusalem.

The Shu`fat Refugee Camp mobilization tent projects a strong signal of unity among a community of people who have been exiled from their homes and forcibly confined into a socio-economic context worse than ghettos. It stands as a platform through which local communities can lobby together and articulate to the international community at large that Jerusalem remains central to Palestine and will never be consumed by the voracious Zionist appetite. Clear messages were also sent to Palestinian Authority officials who remain shamefully silent and complicit, failing to defend Jerusalem with significant efforts and measures against the Occupation project.

But maybe the most poignant message of the mobilization campaign in Shu`fat Refugee Camp is permanence. Palestine is forever etched in the historical landscape and memory of its villages and cities, including Jerusalem. It is deeply intertwined in the city’s far traveled roads, its ancient architecture and archaeology, and its continuity through the layers of colonizers and invaders. In time, the current Zionist Occupation will as well face its inevitable place within the historical dust of Palestinian land.