Israeli security forces removed about 100 Palestinians early on Sunday from tents pitched in an area of the West Bank as a protest against Israeli plans to build a settlement there.
Israel’s Supreme Court ruled on Friday that the Palestinian outpost, built in the geographically sensitive area known as E1, could remain for six days while the issue of the removal of the tents was being discussed.
A police spokesman said the court allowed for the removal of the protesters even if the tents, for now, will stay.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he had ordered the area sealed off to prevent clashes.
“I immediately called for the area to be closed off so there would not be large gatherings there that could cause friction and breach the public order,” he told Army Radio.
“We will not let anyone block the continuum between Jerusalem and Ma’aleh Adumim,” Netanyahu added, referring to the large Jewish settlement that is nearby but deeper into the occupied West Bank.
Netanyahu praised Israeli security forces for their handling of the incident.
“t was indeed carried out last night in the best possible manner,” Netanyahu said at Sunday’s regular Cabinet meeting. “I would like to praise the Israel Police.”
Hundreds of Israeli police and border guards entered the compound and told a crowd of about 100 to leave the 20 large, 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.
“Everyone was evacuated carefully and swiftly, without any injuries to officers or protesters,” said police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld.
MORE CAMPS PLANNED
Palestinian activists criticised the raid and promised more protest camps in areas designated by Israel for settlements.