13 Jan 2013

West Bank tent protesters evicted

6:55 pm on 13 January 2013

Israeli police have evicted Palestinian and international activists from an area of the West Bank where Israel is planning fresh settlement building.

They had put up around 20 tents in the area called E1, between Jerusalem and the Jewish settlement of Maale Adumim.

Israel's Supreme Court had ruled on Friday that the encampment could remain for six days.

Palestinians fear building in E1 would threaten the viability of a future Palestinian state.

Abir Kopty, spokeswoman for the Popular Struggle Co-ordination Committee, a Palestinian activist group, tweeted that six people had been injured during the eviction and had been taken to hospital.

Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said there had been no injuries.

The activists had said they wanted to build a village on the site, calling it Bab al-Shams, after a famous novel about Palestinian history.

The activists' tactics mirrored those of Israeli settlers who stake their claim to parts of the West Bank by pitching mobile homes on hilltops, known as outposts, which are not officially sanctioned, but which aim to establish "facts on the ground".

The BBC reports that prominent Palestinian politician Mustafa Barghouthi was among those removed by police when the camp was evicted in the early hours of Sunday.