Defying the international consensus on the need to vacate occupied Palestinian land, Israel cleared about 100 Palestinian activists and ordered evacuation of a Palestinian protest encampment in the E-1 corridor.
Defending the evacuation, Prime Minister Ma'aleh Adumim.vowed that Israel would not let anyone prevent the Jewish state from connecting the capital to
The E-1 is a 12 square km expanse of land connecting West Bank and the East Jerusalem. The strategic location of E-1 is significant for Palestinians because the presence of more Israeli settlements in the E-1 corridor would block the Palestinians’ aim of establishing a contiguous independent state in the West Bank, with East Jerusalem as the capital. The E-1 corridor has always remained a stumbling block to peace negotiations between Israel and Palestine. However, under pressure from the US, especially from President George W. Bush, Israel frozen the construction of settlements in the corridor.
However, after the Palestinians won de-facto recognition of statehood at the UN General Assembly in November, Israel took a U-turn in its earlier resolution of freezing construction and announced plans to expand settlements in E-1.
Reacting to Israel’s construction plans in E-1, hundreds of Palestinian activists set up protest tents on Friday in the corridor as a measure of resistance against Israel's occupation.
Taking the presence of tents in E-1 very seriously, the Israeli government sought the court’s permission to evict the protesters. On Friday, Israel's Supreme Court ruled that the Palestinian outpost in E-1 could remain for six days while the issue of removal of tents is under discussion. However, defying the court’s ruling, Netanyahu ordered the evacuation of the Palestinian activists.
In a defiant note, Netanyahu said: “We will not let anyone harm the contiguity between Jerusalem and Ma'aleh Adumim. " Following Netanyahu’s orders, Israeli police forces entered the compound and forced the activists to vacate the large, steel-framed tents erected on Friday. Those who refused to leave were forced down the hill by Israeli officers and detained.
Later, Israeli police handed the activists to Palestinian authorities in the West Bank town of Ramallah.
The Palestinians, in addition to international powers, consider all Jewish settlement in places captured by Israel during the 1967 Six-Day War as contentious to securing Israeli-Palestinian reconciliation.
The eviction of the Palestinian activists from E-1 has triggered widespread criticism from Palestinians and there is a possibility that Palestinians would be planning for more protest camps in the controversial E-1 corridor.
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