PHOTOS: A week of joint struggle in Sumud Freedom Camp

For over a week, Jewish activists from across the globe have joined Palestinians in an effort to rebuild a depopulated village in the West Bank. 

By: Ahmad Al-Bazz / Activestills.org

Activists carry one of the Sumud Camp’s tents on the early morning of May 19, 2017, Sarura, West Bank. (Ahmad al-Bazz/Activestills.org)
Activists carry one of the Sumud Camp’s tents on the early morning of May 19, 2017, Sarura, West Bank. (Ahmad al-Bazz/Activestills.org)

It has been over a week since 250 Palestinians, Israelis, and diaspora Jews came together to establish the “Sumud Freedom Camp” on the site of Sarura, a former Palestinian village in the West Bank, whose residents were expelled by Israeli forces between 1980 and 1998 (“sumud” is Arabic for steadfastness).

Organizers announced that the “camp will stand until the families can return to the homes.” In the daytime, activists worked together to reclaim land that had been taken, rebuild ancestral homes, rehabilitate historic wells, and advance the livelihood of the villagers.

So far the camp has twice been raided by the Israeli army. Soldiers arrived to demolish tents that had been erected by the activists and confiscate equipment. Currently, activists are focusing on rehabilitating the caves in the area in which Palestinians can live, instead of building new living quarters, which are easily dismantled by the Israeli army.

Sumud Freedom Camp is located in the south Hebron Hills, part of Area C of the West Bank, which is under full Israeli control. Area C covers over 60 percent of the West Bank and is home to an estimated 180,000-300,000 Palestinians, who suffer from discrimination in access to water and infrastructure, as well as building permits.

A Palestinian and an international Jewish activist carry wooden poles to build one of Sumud Freedom Camp’s tents, Sarura, West Bank, May 19, 2017. (Ahmad al-Bazz/Activestills.org)
A Palestinian and an international Jewish activist carry wooden poles to build one of Sumud Freedom Camp’s tents, Sarura, West Bank, May 19, 2017. (Ahmad al-Bazz/Activestills.org)

 

A Palestinian and a diaspora Jewish activist set up wooden pole to build the Sumud Freedom Camp’s main tent, Sarura, West Bank, May 19, 2017. (Ahmad al-Bazz/Activestills.org)
A Palestinian and a diaspora Jewish activist set up wooden pole to build the Sumud Freedom Camp’s main tent, Sarura, West Bank, May 19, 2017. (Ahmad al-Bazz/Activestills.org)

 

Activists listen to a speech given by a Palestinian elder from Sarura, West Bank, May 19, 2017. (Ahmad al-Bazz/Activestills.org)
Activists listen to a speech given by a Palestinian elder from Sarura, West Bank, May 19, 2017. (Ahmad al-Bazz/Activestills.org)

 

A diaspora Jewish activist sits beside a Palestinian woman at the Sumud Freedom Camp, Sarura, West Bank, May 19, 2017. (Ahmad al-Bazz/Activestills.org)
A diaspora Jewish activist sits beside a Palestinian woman at the Sumud Freedom Camp, Sarura, West Bank, May 19, 2017. (Ahmad al-Bazz/Activestills.org)

 

Palestinians and activists dance dabka, just a few hours before Israeli soldiers raided Sumud Freedom Camp for the first time, Sarura, West Bank, May 20, 2017. (Ahmad al-Bazz/Activestills.org)
Palestinians and activists dance dabka, just a few hours before Israeli soldiers raided Sumud Freedom Camp for the first time, Sarura, West Bank, May 20, 2017. (Ahmad al-Bazz/Activestills.org)

 

Activists form a human wall in front of two Israeli soldiers to stop them from raiding the Sumud Freedom Camp, Sarura, West Bank, May 20, 2017. (Ahmad al-Bazz/Activestills.org)
Activists form a human wall in front of two Israeli soldiers to stop them from raiding the Sumud Freedom Camp, Sarura, West Bank, May 20, 2017. (Ahmad al-Bazz/Activestills.org)

 

International Jewish activists chant in front of an Israeli soldier during a night raid on the Sumud Freedom Camp, Sarura, West Bank, May 20, 2017. (Ahmad al-Bazz/Activestills.org)
International Jewish activists chant in front of an Israeli soldier during a night raid on the Sumud Freedom Camp, Sarura, West Bank, May 20, 2017. (Ahmad al-Bazz/Activestills.org)

 

Activists build a new tent after Israeli soldiers dismantled the Sumud Freedom Camp, Sarura, West Bank, May 24, 2017. (Ahmad al-Bazz/Activestills.org)
Activists build a new tent after Israeli soldiers dismantled the Sumud Freedom Camp, Sarura, West Bank, May 24, 2017. (Ahmad al-Bazz/Activestills.org)

 

Fadel Al-Amer, a Palestinian elder from Sarura, prepares dinner in his cave which was rehabilitated by activists in order to bring people back to the village, May 24, 2017. (Ahmad al-Bazz/Activestills.org)
Fadel Al-Amer, a Palestinian elder from Sarura, prepares dinner in his cave which was rehabilitated by activists in order to bring people back to the village, May 24, 2017. (Ahmad al-Bazz/Activestills.org)

 

Israeli soldiers stand in front of a cave in Sarura, where a Palestinian family lives, during the second IDF raid on Sumud Freedom Camp, May 25, 2017. (Ahmad al-Bazz/Activestills.org)
Israeli soldiers stand in front of a cave in Sarura, where a Palestinian family lives, during the second IDF raid on Sumud Freedom Camp, May 25, 2017. (Ahmad al-Bazz/Activestills.org)

 

Activists try to prevent the Israeli army from dismantling one of the camp’s tents during the second raid on the Sumud Freedom Camp, Sarura, West Bank, May 25, 2017. (Ahmad al-Bazz/Activestills.org)
Activists try to prevent the Israeli army from dismantling one of the camp’s tents during the second raid on the Sumud Freedom Camp, Sarura, West Bank, May 25, 2017. (Ahmad al-Bazz/Activestills.org)

 

A Palestinian elder from Sarura tries to resist the second IDF raid on the Sumud Freedom Camp, May 25, 2017. (Ahmad al-Bazz/Activestills.org)
A Palestinian elder from Sarura tries to resist the second IDF raid on the Sumud Freedom Camp, May 25, 2017. (Ahmad al-Bazz/Activestills.org)

 

Israeli soldiers evacuate a Palestinian elder from the Sumud Freedom Camp in order to dismantle one of the protest camp’s tents, Sarura, West Bank, May 25, 2017. (Ahmed al-Bazz/Activestills.org)
Israeli soldiers evacuate a Palestinian elder from the Sumud Freedom Camp in order to dismantle one of the protest camp’s tents, Sarura, West Bank, May 25, 2017. (Ahmed al-Bazz/Activestills.org)

 

Palestinians, Israelis, and diaspora Jewish activists confront the Israeli army during a raid on Sumud Freedom Camp, Sarura, West Bank, May 25, 2017. (Ahmad al-Bazz/Activestills.org)
Palestinians, Israelis, and diaspora Jewish activists confront the Israeli army during a raid on Sumud Freedom Camp, Sarura, West Bank, May 25, 2017. (Ahmad al-Bazz/Activestills.org)

 

Palestinians, Israelis, and diaspora Jewish activists pose for a photograph to celebrate the return of two tents after they were confiscated by the army in the Sumud Freedom Camp, May 25, 2017. (Ahmad al-Bazz/Activestills.org)
Palestinians, Israelis, and diaspora Jewish activists pose for a photograph to celebrate the return of two tents after they were confiscated by the army in the Sumud Freedom Camp, May 25, 2017. (Ahmad al-Bazz/Activestills.org)