Palestinian activists evicted from makeshift encampment
Israeli security forces have evicted Palestinian activists from a makeshift encampment they set up on Friday in the disputed E-1 area of the West Bank between Jerusalem and the settlement city of Ma’ale Adumim.
About 100 activists were removed from the hilltops in a pre-dawn operation that passed without violence after the Israeli government received high court permission to evict the Palestinians.
However, some 20 tents erected at the site will remain in place for now under the terms of an injunction taken out after four Palestinian families petitioned the court claiming ownership of the land.
The activists set up the outpost on Friday, taking the Israeli authorities by surprise, and expressed the hope that their presence would prevent plans by Israel to construct new settlements on the hilltops.
The government appealed to the court claiming that removing the outpost was an urgent security need as it constituted a “provocation” that could foment unrest “with national and international consequences”.
Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the security forces for the eviction. “We will not allow anyone to harm the contiguity between Jerusalem and Ma’ale Adumim.” Israeli officials confirmed that the government will press ahead with plans for the construction of settler homes in the area, despite harsh international condemnation.
The Palestinians claim that building in the area will divide the West Bank in two and cut off east Jerusalem from the Jordan valley. Israel denies this.
Meanwhile, Mr Netanyahu rejected claims made by former prime minister Ehud Olmert that the government had wasted €2.2 billion on “harebrained adventures to thwart Iran’s nuclear programme that haven’t, and won’t, come to fruition.”
Mr Olmert claimed the Netanyahu administration had “scared the world for a year and in the end didn’t do anything”.
However, Mr Netanyahu said the international sanctions against Iran only worked because Israel invested in “independent capabilities” to act unilaterally if need be.
“In the Middle East, anyone who wishes to exist and to have peace must be strong, and if you want to be strong, you must be prepared.”