Israel Removes Tents from Arab Outpost
Security forces started on Wednesday night to demolish the tents that were set up in the illegal Arab outpost in the area known as E1, Palestinian Authority-based media outlets reported.
An official with the PA told the Bethlehem-based Ma’an news agency that Israeli bulldozers had started to block the roads leading to the outpost, which Arabs have called Bab al-Shams.
The demolition began several hours after the Supreme Court accepted the State’s request and cancelled a temporary injunction which it issued last week and prevented Israel from taking down the tents.
The State had asked the Court to cancel the injunction and allow it to remove the tents, explaining that their presence constitutes an immediate security danger and can create serious disturbances.
An attorney for the Arab activists argued on Wednesday that the tents were not put up in an attempt to create “facts on the ground,” but rather, are a meeting point for tourists.
“The tourist installation is just a meeting point, from which they walk to the Bedouin tents,” said attorney Taufik Joubrain. “We have no intention of doing intense tourist work [in E1].”
The Court, however, accepted the State’s position and ruled that taking down the tents would not harm future Court discussions on a different petition submitted to it, in which the Arabs claim that they had legally purchased the land in question.
“At this point, it would be better that the discussion focus on the petition itself, without the interim order prohibiting the removal of the tents, leaving them like a magnet for rioters, in the background,” ruled the Court. “Removal of the tents is not a permanent move, and it will not prevent issuing another effective order if a cause to issue one is found.”
Arab activists set up the outpost on Friday in the area, which connects Jerusalem and Maaleh Adumim, and that was just recently opened to construction for Israelis.
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu later ordered security forces to immediately evacuate the Arabs, ordering the closure of access roads to the area in order to prevent gatherings until the Court rescinds its injunction against the evacuation of the outpost.
The Arabs in the outpost were evacuated by security forces on Saturday night.