Jerusalem — Israeli forces removed Palestinian protest tents from land adjoining a Jewish settlement in the occupied West Bank on Monday, the second such camp to be torn down in a week.
Palestinian activists had pitched tents near the village of Beit Iksa, northwest of Jerusalem, where residents face difficulty building homes due to Israeli restrictions and may be surrounded by a separation barrier Israel plans for the area.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, widely predicted to win a third term in an election on Tuesday, has pledged to pursue settlement building in the West Bank and in East Jerusalem, occupied land that Israel has annexed in a move not recognised internationally.
“Israeli border police evacuated the structures, removing some 20 people who were there and confiscating the tents and equipment,” an Israeli security source told Reuters.
Activists from the camp, which they dubbed Bab al-Karama, “the Gateway of Dignity”, vowed to continue pitching tents on areas they say are threatened by Israeli settlement expansion.
“The demolition of Bab al-Karama does not mean the end of our stand. Activists will again occupy the site on which the village was built and they will rebuild their tents when the opportunity arises,” activist Nabil Hababa said.
Last week, many of the same protesters were evicted by Israeli forces from a protest camp in an area outside Jerusalem known as E1, earmarked by Israel for new settlements that Palestinians say will split the West Bank in two.
The Israeli Haaretz newspaper reported on Monday that Israel’s Defence Ministry planned to change the proposed route of its separation barrier to prevent Palestinian access to the E1 area. Speaking to Reuters, a ministry official denied the report.