Palestinians evacuated from E-1 area

Jan. 13, 2013 at 8:07 AM
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JERUSALEM, Jan. 13 (UPI) -- Some 250 Palestinians were evacuated peacefully from an outpost in the E1 area that links Ma'aleh Adumim and Jerusalem early Sunday, Israeli police said.

"Everyone was evacuated carefully and swiftly, without any injuries to officers or protesters," Israel Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told journalists. Some of the Palestinians were taken by bus to the Kalandiya checkpoint north of Jerusalem where they were released, Israel Radio said. No arrests were made.

"We won't allow anyone to harm the continuity of land between Jerusalem and Ma'aleh Adumim," Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said at the beginning of the weekly Cabinet meeting, Israel Radio said.

Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat slammed the decision to evacuate the Palestinians and called it "shameful." In an interview on Army Radio, Erekat said the Palestinians were trying to protect Palestinian land. "This situation is absolutely intolerable and I hold the government of Israel responsible."

Israeli soldiers and Border Police Saturday night declared the areas a closed military zone and blocked the access road to prevent additional activists from reaching the site. Earlier, the Palestinians were asked by Israeli security officials to leave the outpost peacefully.

The move came after the state petitioned the High Court of Justice late Saturday night asking it overturn a temporary injunction issued by the court Friday, preventing the Palestinians' eviction unless the state could prove it was an emergency, said. Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein said the outpost was set up to provoke violence and could have "international and national consequences." The government insisted the tents were pitched on state-owned land.

On Friday, in response to Israel's recent announcement to build thousands of new housing units in the E1 area, hundreds of Palestinians pitched tents on the land saying they intended to build a new village. They called the encampment Bab el-Shams, which means Gateway to the Sun in Arabic.

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