Israel evacuates Palestinian camp

Israeli border police evacuate Palestinian protesters from the scene in the controversial West Bank area known as E1 early on January 13, 2013.

The Israeli military has forcefully evacuated a protest camp set up by Palestinian and foreign activists at a site designated for new illegal settlement units.

Israeli forces early Sunday clashed with some 200 activists who had set up makeshift tents in the occupied West Bank to prevent Tel Aviv from building new settler units.

“Hundreds of Israeli police came from all directions, surrounding all those who were in the tents and arresting them one by one,” Palestinian legislator Mustafa Barghouti said.

On Saturday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the closure of roads leading to the site.

Netanyahu’s office said on Saturday that the regime petitioned the Supreme Court to rescind an earlier ban blocking the evacuation, allowing it to use force against activists.

On Friday, the activists set up more than 20 tents in the controversial E1 area between the occupied east al-Quds (Jerusalem) and the Israeli settlement of Maale Adumim to support the rights of Palestinian land owners.

Israel has been globally condemned for pursuing the building of thousands of illegal settler homes on occupied Palestinian land.

Last month, Israeli officials said they would go ahead with plans to build 6,500 settler units on Palestinian territory despite the opposition of the United Nations and the international community.

The presence and also the continued expansion of Israeli settlements in occupied Palestine are major obstacles for the efforts to establish peace in the Middle East.

More than half a million Israelis live in over 120 illegal settlements built since Israel’s occupation of Palestinian territories of the West Bank and East al-Quds in 1967.

The UN and most countries regard the Israeli settlements as illegal because the territories were captured by Israel in a war in 1967 and are hence subject to the Geneva Conventions, which forbids construction on occupied lands.