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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by: Push them all out from: Seattle
January 13, 2013 5:37 PM
I'm so tired of the all these militant islamists. They can all go rot in the Sinai desert. Israel should take back ALL of it's land from the West Bank _and_ the Gaza Strip. Push them OUT.

France has the right idea in Mali, just bring the jets and level their bases.

by: mick from: england
January 13, 2013 5:27 PM
Israel have no right to do this at all. It's like you inviting me into you home and me slowly taking over an kicking you out. What was Palestine is now nearly all Israel. It's disgusting, and were all following them in the western world. It's not fair!

by: mrmoloc from: stuck in hell
January 13, 2013 5:15 PM
What Israel views and does towards its Arab neighbors is ultimately disgusting. The way the Jewish society in the middle east see them selves as Gods chosen people is a disgrace to humanity as a whole. No one will be seeing anything of Gods favors as we as a species are lost in our own greed, set apart by the claimed rights of one man over another. May God punish us all for the fact we cannot live in peace together to build a better future for our children.

by: Patrickhughes78
January 13, 2013 5:06 PM
How can Jewish citizens allow there leader to overturn court rulings on a whim? This is not democratic process and illustrates the truth; that the Zionist movement is a bunch of foreigners occupying land illegally, using violence to insure their position. All this made possible by America and the UK, the greatest colonialist of all time. Netanyahu is securing only that the nation of Israel will always be contested worldwide.

by: Phil from: UK
January 13, 2013 5:04 PM
Israel is effectively committing suicide by alienating almost every civilised nation who have traditionally supported them. Hopefully the US will see that Israel's behaviour in building more settlements is adding fuel to the fire that will backfire in its own face. Come on Obama - pull the rug from under them and let them known you mean business.

by: Viiit from: Seattle
January 13, 2013 4:49 PM
Brave Israel!
Don't bow down to Muslim demands.

And as for the Arab population of the "West-Bank", their living standard improved 8 fold since Israel liberated that area from Jordanian occupation.

by: Michael from: Miami
January 13, 2013 4:25 PM
No matter what your feelings or beliefs regarding who has the right to this particular piece of land, the thing that struck me about this incident was the executive branch of government over ruling a Supreme Court injunction (and using the military as the excuse, no less). A troubling precedent for any democracy.

by: Walsingham from: Auckland, New Zealand
January 13, 2013 3:58 PM
Northern Ireland analogy a good one. Britain will never tolerate a hostile regime that close. Israel will not tolerate the same.

Armies of occupation of necessity are policemen, something they are not trained for. Raising Palestinian standards particularly employment one solution. Another is health and education care paid for by the Arab League? In multiple ways the Palestinians are the pawns in not only Israeli but Arab politics.

by: Izak Friend from: USA
January 13, 2013 3:52 PM
Arab nationalists aren't hostile to Israel because Israel builds here or there. Arab nationalists are hostile to Israel, because they require that Arab Lands be inhabited exclusively by those in possession of Pure Arab Race Blood. As all of Israel is within their declared Arab Lands, the Jews must "go away." It is not within the Arab nationalist imagination, that their enemies might do the same to them.

Netanyahu is not an Arab nationalist, does not follow their script. Injustice!

by: Ronald G, Kirchem from: Los Altos, CA
January 13, 2013 2:29 PM
The Israelis continue to steal the Palestinians' land, and nobody does anything at all about it, mostly because the US government, which keeps Israel afloat, is controlled by the Zionists. The right-wingers are always crying about their fears of a tyrannical government, but any elected official who criticizes Israel in the US will be hounded from public office. Look what is happening to Chuck Hagel. Whatever happened to American democracy? When did we cede control over our foreign and military policy to Israel? It is time for Americans to wake up and stand up to the Zionist thugs.
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