Jerusalem Municipality Won’t Evict Bereaved Families From Protest Camp

Mayor Nir Barkat promised the families they could remain overnight in a tent opposite the prime ministers’ residence.

Nir Hasson
Nir Hasson
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Nir Hasson
Nir Hasson

The Jerusalem municipality has lifted the eviction order on a protest tent set up opposite the prime minister’s residence in Jerusalem by relatives of terrorism victims.

The demonstration is being staged in advance of the impending release on Tuesday of jailed Palestinians. The municipality initially issued the eviction order, saying that although the demonstrators had the right to stay there for the entire day, they were not permitted to stay overnight because the encampment was obstructing access to the site.

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat visited the protesters on Sunday and promised to resolve the issue of the protest encampment at the site.

In the course of his visit to the demonstrators, the mayor expressed sympathy with their cause. “The entire people of Israel feel your pain and identify with your cry, without connection to the government’s decision,” he said. “Your voice is being clearly heard. It’s a proper and correct message over which there is no dispute among the people.”

“It goes without saying that the municipality has been and is allowing the protest to take place,” Barkat said. “That’s a basic democratic right and together with the families we will arrange the technical aspects to their satisfaction.”

The protest began on Saturday night, after the ministerial committee on the release of prisoners approved the release of 26 prisoners who have been in Israeli jails since before the 1993 Oslo agreement. The prisoner release will be the third of four planned releases in the context of the peace negotiations with the Palestinians that resumed in July.

Among the prisoners slated to be freed is Ahmed Kamil Majnin, commander of a so-called Black Panther cell from the West Bank town of Qabatiyah, near Jenin, who was arrested in 1993 for the murder of five Israelis and 50 Palestinians.

Rallying against prisoner release. Jerusalem, December 28, 2013.Credit: Olivier Fitoussi

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