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Israel seeks to remove E1 protest tents
Published Saturday 12/01/2013 (updated) 14/01/2013 11:10
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Palestinians, together with Israeli and foreign activists, stand near
newly-erected tents in an area known as E1, near Jerusalem January
12, 2013. (Reuters/Baz Ratner)
E1, West Bank (Reuters) -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Saturday he was seeking court approval to remove Palestinian protest tents pitched in an area of the occupied West Bank that Israel has earmarked for a new settlement.

Palestinian activists erected over 25 tents and a medical center in the E1 area east of Jerusalem on Friday to protest Israeli settlement plans and protect Palestinian land from annexation.

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

The protest village, called Bab al-Shams, or 'Gate of the Sun', has been praised by Palestinian officials as a form of popular resistance against Israeli occupation.

The Israeli prime minister's office said in a statement on Saturday that the government was petitioning the court to retract its ruling on the tents and had instructed security forces to block off roads leading to the rocky desert terrain.

Palestinian activist Irene Nasser, who is at Bab al-Shams, told Ma'an that the 250-strong group will stay on the land even if Israel tries to forcibly remove them.

"One of the main things that we are trying to do here is reclaim our land," she said.

"Bab al-Shams is another action in the wider strategy of popular resistance in Palestine, and we will not let this area turn into another Maale Adumim, which we see across the hill from us," Nasser added.

Earlier on Saturday, Israeli forces prevented PLO official Hanan Ashrawi and PA minister of social affairs, Majida al-Masri, from entering the E1 area to visit the protest tents.

A vehicle carrying the officials was stopped and searched at a checkpoint and told to go back to Ramallah, despite the fact that both officials had Jerusalem ID cards.

"Establishing a Palestinian village on Palestinian land slated for confiscation by Israel for thousands of settlement units is a form of popular resistance to the Israeli occupation and land theft," al-Masri said.

Israel's military handed evacuation orders to activists in the Bab al-Shams protest village on Saturday, stating that the military intends to move protestors by force.

Senior Fatah official Saeb Erekat said Saturday that the Bab al-Shams protest movement is attempting to save the two-state solution at a time when Israel is determined to undermine it by building illegal settlements.

In December, Israel announced plans to build some 3,000 settler homes in the E1 corridor near Jerusalem, drawing widespread international condemnation.

Construction in E1 would divide the West Bank and make the creation of a contiguous Palestinian state - as envisaged by the internationally backed two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict - almost impossible.
1 ) Big Mike / USA
12/01/2013 20:56
What they going to do when court denies his petition?

2 ) Colin Wright / USA
12/01/2013 23:39
Given how unable the Israeli seems to be to deal with illegal Jewish settlements, I don't think the Palestinians need have any fears. They'll be there for years -- then eventually 'legalized.' Or am I missing something?

3 ) Colin Wright / USA
12/01/2013 23:41
To Big Mike #1: 'What they going to do when court denies his petition?' You are new at this, aren't you? This is Israel: they'll go ahead and do exactly what they wanted to do anyway. Courts are only obeyed in Israel when they issue the desired ruling.

4 ) Mark of Lewiston / USA
12/01/2013 23:41
Israeli politicians constantly claim that housing is not obstacle of anything. Use their arguments and identify them as their arguments as precedent as they are used by Israeli politicians.

5 ) ian / australia
13/01/2013 01:53
Definite echoes of Gandhi. If it remains completely non-violent (which it will because it's not in Gaza) this is incredibly effective resistance. The Europeans are a hair's breadth from saying enough and Obama (with new SoD) isn't projecting the acquiescence of the first term. E1 is so confrontational (and insulting) it's personal and could be a provocation too far. Israel is like a horrid child that knows parents/adults ultimately have power over it but pushes...and pushes...testing the limits.

6 ) ian / australia
13/01/2013 01:54
(contd.) It's hardwired to go too far, which G-d willing, this time it has. And it's funny how Jewish history seems to repeat itself with roles reversed. There's the Holocaust re-enacted a few years later as al-Nakba and now Masada, the heroic last stand against Rome re-enacted with Bibi in the role of Lucius Flavius Silva, coming down hard on the rebels, with palpable menace, ominously instructing "security forces to block off roads leading to the rocky desert terrain".

7 ) GIG / Finland
13/01/2013 03:52
Why does MAAN Omit the presence of Dr. Mustafa Barghouti on the site. Even Haaretz reported that!

8 ) someone / somewhere
13/01/2013 04:12
GOSH MA'AN! Bad job.. tsk tsk tsk! everyone was arrested after israeli forces raided the village! WHERE ARE YOU?

9 ) Joe / UK
13/01/2013 04:17
a sleepy news agency... news = 24/7

10 ) poof / gone
13/01/2013 06:17
try again

11 ) Colin Wright / USA
13/01/2013 08:30
Fairly funny. Sure enough: the court ordered a delay to permit discussions -- and the IDF just ignored the courts and went ahead and forcibly removed the Palestinians.
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