Israel evacuates Palestinians from W. Bank tent outpost

E1, West Bank Sun Jan 13, 2013 3:37pm IST

Palestinians, together with Israeli and foreign activists, stand near newly-erected tents in an area known as E1, near Jerusalem January 12, 2013. REUTER/Baz Ratner

Palestinians, together with Israeli and foreign activists, stand near newly-erected tents in an area known as E1, near Jerusalem January 12, 2013. REUTER/Baz Ratner

Related Topics

E1, West Bank (Reuters) - Israeli security forces evacuated about 100 Palestinians early on Sunday from tents pitched in an area of the West Bank as a protest against Israeli plans to build a settlement there.

Israel's Supreme Court ruled on Friday that the Palestinian outpost, built in the geographically sensitive area known as E1, could remain for six days while the issue of the removal of the tents was being discussed.

A police spokesman said the court allowed for the removal of the protesters even if the tents, for now, will stay.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he had ordered the area sealed off to prevent clashes.

"I immediately called for the area to be closed off so there would not be large gatherings there that could cause friction and breach the public order," he told Army Radio.

Hundreds of Israeli police and border guards entered the compound and told a crowd of about 100 to leave the 20 large, steel-framed tents erected on Friday.

Those protesters who refused to leave were carried down the hill by Israeli officers and detained, but were not jailed. Israeli police vans took them to the West Bank town of Ramallah, the Palestinian seat of government.

"Everyone was evacuated carefully and swiftly, without any injuries to officers or protesters," said police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld.

MORE CAMPS PLANNED

Palestinian activists criticised the raid and promised more protest camps in areas designated by Israel for settlements.

"The eviction and the exercise of force is another indication that Israel is defying the international consensus on the need to vacate occupied Palestinian land," Palestinian government spokesman Nour Odeh said.

For years, Israel froze building in E1, which currently houses only a police headquarters, after coming under pressure from former U.S. President George W. Bush.

Netanyahu said Israel would build at E1 after the planning process was completed.

"It is a gradual process, it will take time. It will not happen immediately, you understand our bureaucratic process ... We will complete the planning an there will be building there," he told Army Radio.

Israel announced plans to expand settlements, mainly in West Bank areas around Jerusalem, after the Palestinians won de-facto recognition of statehood at the U.N. General Assembly in November.

International powers view all Jewish settlement building in areas captured by Israel in the 1967 Arab-Israeli War as detrimental to securing an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal.

E1 covers 4.6 square miles (12 square km) and is seen as particularly important because it not only juts into the narrow "waist" of the West Bank, but backs onto East Jerusalem.

Palestinians want to establish an independent state in the West Bank, dominated by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah faction, and the Gaza Strip, run by the rival Islamist group Hamas, with East Jerusalem as the capital.

About 500,000 Israelis and 2.5 million Palestinians live in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Direct peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians broke down in 2010 over the issue of Israel's continued settlement building.

(Additional reporting by Ori Lewis in Jerusalem and Noah Browning in Ramallah; editing by Andrew Roche)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

Ebola Outbreak

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Neclear Restart

Neclear Restart

Japan's Sendai nuclear restart in final stage: local governor.  Full Article 

Fight Unites

Fight Unites

Kurds' battle for Kobani unites a people divided by borders.  Full Article 

Railway Revamp

Railway Revamp

China to spend at least $33 bln on new railway lines.  Full Article 

Controversial Remark

Controversial Remark

Thousands denounce HSBC board member's likening of Hong Kong people to freed slaves.  Full Article 

Apple's Cook signals front line of new gay rights battle

Cook Speaks Up

Apple's Cook signals front line of new gay rights battle.  Full Article 

Gas Deal

Gas Deal

Ukraine, Russia, EU agree to natural gas supply deal.  Full Article 

Jerusalem Tensions

Jerusalem Tensions

Kerry urges restraint, expresses worry over tensions in Jerusalem.  Full Article 

Myanmar Roundtable

Myanmar Roundtable

Obama urges progress in Myanmar ahead of rare roundtable.  Full Article 

Active Volcano

Active Volcano

National Guard arrives in Hawaii town threatened by lava.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage