Israel demolishes activist camp, evicts Palestinian returnees from their village

Photograph shows camping tents in front of old church built of stone

Descendents of refugees have camped in Iqrit village since August 2012.

Ahmad Al-Bazz ActiveStills

Israeli land authorities on Wednesday demolished several tents and other structures while evicting residents from Kufr Birim, a destroyed Palestinian village where approximately a dozen youth activists – all of them descendants of refugees from that village – have been camping for the last ten months.

Situated on the border of Lebanon and present-day Israel, Kufr Birim was home to Christian and Muslim Palestinians. Yet in November 1948, during the Nakba – the 1948 establishment of Israel and ethnic cleansing of Palestine – the newly-formed Israeli military expelled the village’s residents.

Most of the refugees remained in present-day Israel, where they took citizenship and became part of the minority of Palestinian citizens that today numbers an estimated 1.7 million people. They face dozens of discriminatory laws that limit their political expression and access to land and state resources.

Adopting the tactic of youth activists in Iqrit, another destroyed Palestinian village in the Galilee region of present-day Israel, descendants of refugees from Kufr Birim returned to the village in August 2013. They have since held several Palestinian political and cultural events and hosted religious ceremonies.

Yet an Israeli court in Nazareth last week rejected an appeal by Kufr Birim’s youth against an eviction order delivered by the Israel Lands Administration, as reported in Arabic by the Arabs48 website.

“And this comes days after the Israel Lands Administration raided the village of Iqrit, where they razed tents and structures and confiscated belongings of youth who returned to Iqrit,” the Arabs48 adds.

Punched and kicked

Around 10am on Sunday morning, Israel land authorities reportedly arrived in Iqrit alongside several police officers. Without announcing their arrival or explaining the purpose of their visit, as is required by Israeli law, land authorities and officers began confiscating the campers’ belongings and uprooting their garden.

Three young men – Wlaa Sbeit, Jerias Khayyat and Nidal Khoury – were present at the time. When they tried to prevent the confiscation of personal items, they were punched and kicked by the ILA officers.

All three were subsequently arrested and taken to a nearby police station for interrogation. After a court hearing on Monday morning, Sbeit and Khayyat were put on house arrest for a week and banned from entering Iqrit for sixty days.

Nidal Khoury’s detention was extended, according to Orami Mahameed, a lawyer at the Adalah Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel.

Internally displaced

During the years following the 1948 expulsion of the residents of Kufr Birim and Iqrit, the two villages faced similar fates.

In 1951, Israel’s high court ruled that Iqrit’s refugees could return to their land. Yet on Christmas day that year the military demolished all of the homes and buildings with dynamite and rendered them permanently exiled.

Similarly, Kufr Birim was bombed and destroyed by Israel’s air force in 1953.

Descendants of refugees from both Iqrit and Kufr Birim decided not to wait for Israel’s permission to return to their lands, where they recently set up camp and roughed difficult conditions for extended periods of time.

In both villages the campers have faced constant harassment by Israeli authorities, including frequent visits by the Israel Lands Administration and police as well as monitoring by drones.

In an op-ed for The Electronic Intifada last September, Palestinian activist Nadim Nashif noted that “the combined activities of these villages during the summer of 2013 represent the most significant movement in the struggle for [the right of return for Palestinian refugees] since the years following the Nakba.”

“Far from forgetting their roots and historical injustices, the latest generation of Palestinians inside Israel are showing their dedication to their right of return,” he added. 




Arabs of State of Israel are NOT "Palestinian citizens": They are citizens of State of Israel:

1 Includes, 1949 refugees in 3rd Arab States that originate from territory/sovereignty defined in UNGA 181 Part II Boundaries B., Jewish State

Palestinian Citizens are Citizens of the UNGA 181 State of Palestine:

1 UNGA 181 Part II Boundaries A., Arab State defines the territory/sovereignty of the UNGA 181 State of Palestine

2 Present International Law Context

2.1 Palestinian Citizens are limited to Palestinians:

2.1.1 Living in the West Bank & Gaza

2.1.2 Refugees in 3rd Arab States that originate from UNGA 181 Part II Boundaries A., Arab State

3 UNSC 242 Compliance:

3.1` UNSC 242 PH 4.1., (i) Prerequisite Israeli vacating its war criminal presence in UNGA 181 Palestine West Bak& Gaza

3.2 Thereafter, UNSC 242 PH 4.1., (ii) Negotiated settlement of UNGA 181 State of Palestine territories of Negev, North Gaza, Haifa, North & South Beersheba, & Galilee aka "Whiteline Palestine"

3.2.1 Options are cession, sale, lease, & political administrative condominium Cession is NOT PINC_G policy

4 Whiteline Palestine: Resolution should be political condominium where sovereignty is UNGA 181 State of Palestine administrated by joint Israel-Palestine Governing Authority with its own separate Supra-National Economic Union Palestine-Israel Assembly [EU_PALIS]

4.1 Where these residents are accorded dual Israel-Palestinian Citizenship; Voting is limited to the EU_PALIS; Cannot vote in Israel nor Palestine elections

4.2 UNGA 181 State of Palestine shall legislative domestic law denying present ipso fact Israeli citizenry war criminals Dual Citizenship for 50 years with self-relocation amnesty cut-off date June 13 2015

4.2.1 Counter-measure should these ipso facto Israeli war criminals be relocated to the geographicals of UNGA 181 Palestine sovereignty Negev, North Gaza, North & South Beersheba, & Galilee


As Michael Prior demonstrated years ago, there can never be any guaranteed
right or entitlement to the lands of the "Canaanites", in this case the Palestinians.
(See THE BIBLE AND COLONIALMISM). This underpinning of raw conquest
has been the basis of (Christian) Crudes, of the Invasion of North America,
of the Afrikaaners in South Africa , of the "civilized" world over all others as in
US hegemony and in Zionist presumption that Palestine is divinely assigned to
them (Exodus) and that they are so mandated by divinity (.."you shall tear down
their altars" etc.Western nations (such as the US who do likewise because of
their "civilized" superiority join forces.

Such arrogance must be opposed. It confronts morality in all its forms.

Boston, MA

Patrick Strickland

Patrick Strickland's picture

Patrick O. Strickland is an independent journalist and frequent contributor at The Electronic Intifada. He is presently working on his first book for the London-based publishing house Zed Books. See his in-depth coverage for EI.