Israel evacuates Palestinians from West Bank tent outpost

Sun Jan 13, 2013 4:56am EST
 

By Ali Sawafta

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.   Continued...

 
Israeli border police remove a Palestinian from an outpost of tents in an area known as E1, near Jerusalem January 13, 2013. REUTER/Ammar Awad