News / Middle East

Israel Vows to Build in West Bank Site After Evicting Protesters

Israeli border police remove a Palestinian from an outpost of tents in an area known as E1, near Jerusalem, January 13, 2013.
Israeli border police remove a Palestinian from an outpost of tents in an area known as E1, near Jerusalem, January 13, 2013.
Robert Berger
Israel's prime minister has vowed to move ahead with settlement building in a Palestinian-claimed area near Jerusalem, after Israeli security forces evicted more than 100 Palestinian protesters from the site.

In an interview Sunday on Israeli radio, Benjamin Netanyahu said "there will construction" in the disputed E-1 zone between Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem and the major West Bank Jewish settlement of Maaleh Adumim.  But he said it will take time for Israel to complete the planning process for 3,000 housing units.

Israeli security personnel entered the zone before dawn Sunday and quickly removed dozens of Palestinians who had set up tents Friday to protest the proposed settlement project.  The protesters resisted passively and there were no serious injuries.

Conflicting claims

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (2nd R) attends the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, January 13, 2013.Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (2nd R) attends the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, January 13, 2013.
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (2nd R) attends the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, January 13, 2013.
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (2nd R) attends the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, January 13, 2013.
Netanyahu told a Cabinet meeting he ordered the eviction to prevent anyone from harming what he called Israel's claim to territorial "contiguity" between Jerusalem and Maaleh Adumim.

Palestinians claim East Jerusalem as the capital of a future state they say should include all of the Israeli-occupied West Bank, including E-1.

One activist told Israel Radio the Palestinian struggle against the planned settlement will continue.  "We came here to stay here," he said.  "We are Palestinian families, we own this land and we want to use it.  We want to build over it, we want to plant it, we want our children to use it."

Another Palestinian man vowed to return, saying, "I will stay at long as it takes.  And then I can build a house here and I can stay here."

The protesters obtained an Israeli Supreme Court injunction on Friday, preventing Israeli authorities from removing their tent camp in E-1.  The Israeli government later declared the site a closed military zone and said the court ruling did not block the removal of the protesters. 

Strategic zone

Palestinians say the proposed E-1 settlement's location at the center of the West Bank would make it impossible for them to form a state with viable borders and would block Arab access to East Jerusalem.  Much of the international community also has criticized the Israeli plan, calling it an obstacle to a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Israeli supporters of E-1 say it would not obstruct an independent Palestine's connection to Jerusalem through Arab districts such as Abu Dis.  They also say it would not prevent the northern and southern parts of the West Bank from being connected by a corridor at least 15 kilometers wide - about the same as Israel's narrowest waistline between the Mediterranean coast and the West Bank. 

Michael Lipin contributed to this report from Washington.

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Comment Sorting
Comments page of 4
by: Aurora from: Montana
January 14, 2013 9:40 PM
@ david lulas

The Golan Heights area is already inhabited by the Druze. It is part of the area of their homeland.

by: david lulasa from: tambua,hamisi,vihiga,keny
January 14, 2013 3:42 AM
to be good for something,palestine neighbours,inparticular jordan,will have to donate land to palestinians...instead of always inciting palestinians against israelis..if not,then golan heights should be the one being given to palestinians.

by: Josh Glahn from: USA
January 13, 2013 9:02 PM
Although Robert Berger has put a valiant effort into presenting this occurrence impartially, his failure to provide reasons for Israel’s actions is decidedly biased. Presenting only that the Israeli army disregarded the Supreme Court’s ruling ignores the fact that the Executive Branch has every right to evacuate the E1 for security purposes. The sparsely populated 12 miles between the Maale Adumim and Jerusalem poses a major threat to the 40,000 Israelis in the West Bank. This “encroachment” has the potential to save lives, where the only Palestinian objections are that one day there might be a city there. The whole land issue aside, Israel’s removing the Palestinian protesters from the construction sight was completely nonviolent. Compared to American policemen who pepper sprayed hundreds of nonviolent college students, the Palestinians’ treatment was exceedingly civil. Taking a wider perspective, the fact that Israel has the need for new development is indicative of its expanding economy and infrastructure that benefits and creates jobs for both sides of the conflict.

by: Pete from: Czech Republic
January 13, 2013 7:42 PM
Well, palestinians shouldn't start the war... They should be grateful for what they have and learn how to behave.. they did it themselves and their mad believe!

by: david from: ireland
January 13, 2013 6:37 PM
just goes to netenyahoo is a dictator

by: Chsp943 from: Home
January 13, 2013 6:36 PM
So our next war will be for the Jewish people also?

by: Scott from: USA
January 13, 2013 6:14 PM
The current Israel Government is doing everything wrong, they are not even trying to seek Peace but only Conflict and War, The World is changing it mind on Israel, If the Arabs go to war with Israel, Yes there will be some token of support, but not what they expect or want, Israel has very little time left, but not as much as they think for some Major changes to be made, Yes the spoiled bully is going to get kicked around. and it might be the best thing to happen, As a American View Point Israel is in Violation of the United Nation Repeatedly, that is strike one. Strike two China and Russia could very well tell us to back off and we would have to listen to china no one else is buying our notes, Strike three we been at war for over 10 years we have had enough and we have pressing bills to pay and we no longer have the funds to just go to war for the fun of it or support someone who is not seeking Peace.

by: Lenox from: London
January 13, 2013 5:58 PM
I find it absolutely shocking that Israel is allowed to occupy Palestinian land, while the world turn a blind eye, it is an utter disgrace, and surely should not be allow to continue.

by: Davdon
January 13, 2013 5:43 PM
More shame on the rogue state of Israel
They seem to have as much respect for domestic Law in evicting these peaceful protesters as they have for
International law

by: AF from: Chicago
January 13, 2013 5:39 PM
Why does the United States continue to do nothing more than say "Now, now, you really shouldn't" about settlements? If it reduced aid to Israel by an amount proportionate to new settlements and refusal to abandon existing settlements, that would carry a stronger message and actual consequences.

Seizing land by force and then settling on it is illegal according to international law. It is the equivalent of the United States deciding to "solve drug crime" by unilaterally invading Mexico, seizing lands on its borders, handing the land over to Americans who want to build on it, and then committing systemtic human rights violations on the Mexicans who remain in that land.
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