Israeli border police arrest a man on January 15, 2013, as he attempts to return to Bab al-Shams
Israeli border police arrest a man on January 15, 2013, as he attempts to return to the Bab al-Shams (Gate of the Sun) "outpost." Israeli police overnight dismantled the Palestinian protest camp set up on a controversial piece of land on the outskirts of Jerusalem, a police spokesman and activists said on Thursday. © Ahmad Gharabli - AFP
Israeli border police arrest a man on January 15, 2013, as he attempts to return to Bab al-Shams
AFP
Last updated: January 17, 2013

Israel dismantles Palestinian protest camp

Israeli police overnight dismantled a Palestinian protest camp set up on a controversial piece of land on the outskirts of Jerusalem, a police spokesman and activists said on Thursday.

"The 24 tents in the encampment were dismantled during the night by police. No incidents took place during or after the operation," police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told AFP, confirming the site was now empty.

Activist Abir Kopty, one of the Palestinian protesters who helped set up the protest camp, also confirmed that the "village" had been dismantled.

On Wednesday, Israel's Supreme Court approved the dismantling of the camp, three days after its inhabitants were evicted.

The court ruling said that the risk of "public disorder" outweighed "arguments of the (Palestinian) petitioners concerning property rights."

The Palestinians had obtained a temporary Supreme Court injunction allowing them to keep the tent camp, but Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in the middle of a re-election campaign, called for the decision to be reversed.

Israeli forces went ahead with the eviction of protesters before the court ruling on the injuction, apparently on the understanding that it applied only to the tents on the site, and not the demonstrators.

On Tuesday, protesters attempted to return to the site, but were prevented by Israeli forces, who have declared the area a closed military zone.

Activists set up the camp, which they dubbed Bab al-Shams, or Gate of the Sun in Arabic, in a bid to draw attention to Israeli plans to build in the area, known as E1.

The Palestinians say settlement construction there would effectively cut the West Bank in two and prevent the creation of a contiguous Palestinian state.

The international community has also reacted with consternation to Israeli plans to build in E1, urging Netanyahu's government to reconsider.

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