Press Releases

30 March 1998 - Palestinian Land Day: The Last Day of SUMOUD Camp?

BADIL Alternative Information Center  
For Immediate Release 
30 March 1998 


Originally, the Jerusalem municipality had demanded that the SUMOUD Camp be evacuated by 28 February 1998. In negotiations between lawyers representing the Waqf and the  approximately 40 Palestinian families, and the Jerusalem municipality, a new evacuation date was set for 30 March 1998 - the day when Palestinians commemorate and protest the theft of their land by the Israeli state. 

No solution for the issues raised by the people of the SUMOUD Camp was found during the 30 day extension period. The Israeli authorities have not stopped their policies of house demolition and land confiscation in Jerusalem, nor have they abstained from confiscating additional ID cards of Palestinian Jerusalemites. Solutions fit to solve the personal dilemma created by the upcoming dismantling of SUMOUD Camp were not offered: at least 17 families still have no alternative place to live in. 

After intensive debates, two different strategies were adopted by Camp residents: 

  • Approximately half of the families, among them most of the families without alternative home, left the site of SUMOUD Camp on March 28. They squatted in an empty East Jerusalem building owned by the Waqf and demand to be granted the right to housing in Jerusalem. Living conditions in the run-down squatted building are extremely difficult and unhealthy, moreover, al-Quds University has raised the claim to have rented the building from the Waqf. 
  • The second half of the families has remained on the Camp site, a decision which was supported by the Orient House, the initiator of SUMOUD Camp. These families uphold that repercussions of a forceful eviction of the Camp by the Israeli authorities will contribute more to the remedy of Palestinian suffering in occupied East Jerusalem than the search for individual solutions. By noon of March 30, no Israeli police forces have yet arrived to the Camp site, for the residents there is nothing but wait and see. 

The residents of SUMOUD Camp call for local and international support by: 

  • Protesting to the Israeli government against the evacuation order; fax to: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (2-566-4838) and Israeli Jerusalem Mayor Ehud Olmert (2-629-7997). 
  • Calling upon all Palestinian national institutions, religious and secular, to assist in finding alternative housing for those in need. Send letters to: Orient House (Muhanna Asal), fax.  2-6286820;  Haj Adnan Husseini, Islamic Waqf, fax. 2-6285561. 

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For more information contact: BADIL Alternative Information Center, Bethlehem, (2) 747346, email: badil@baraka.org