Israel evacuates 100 Palestinians and activists from tents pitched in West Bank

Monday 14 January 2013 12.42
Israeli border police prepare to evacuate Palestinian protesters from the scene in the controversial West Bank area known as E1
Israeli border police prepare to evacuate Palestinian protesters from the scene in the controversial West Bank area known as E1

Israeli security forces have evacuated an area in the West Bank in which about 100 Palestinian and international activists had pitched tents as a protest against Israeli plans to build a settlement there.

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

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he had ordered the area sealed off to prevent clashes.

Hundreds of Israeli police and border guards entered the compound and told a crowd of about 100 to leave the 20 steel-framed tents erected on Friday.

Those protesters who refused to leave were carried down the hill by Israeli officers and detained, but were not jailed.

Israeli police vans took them to the West Bank town of Ramallah, the Palestinian seat of government.

Palestinian activists criticised the raid and promised more protest camps in areas designated by Israel for settlements.

Israel announced plans to expand settlements, mainly in West Bank areas around Jerusalem, after the Palestinians won de-facto recognition of statehood at the UN General Assembly in November.