Ulpana Protest Tent in Jerusalem
Ulpana Protest Tent in JerusalemFlash 90

Jerusalem police are threatening to close down a tent erected to protest against the government destruction of Beit El's Ulpana neighborhood.

Activists who are leading the demonstration to support the Regulation Law that would legalize disputed settlement lands said city officials have been harassing them. They added said [Prime Minister Binyamin] “Netanyahu's cowardice” was behind the move.

Municipal police warned the tent occupants they must leave by midnight, or they will be removed by force.

But hundreds of additional protesters are on their way to the site, reportedly to assist in blocking the police from removing the demonstrators.

A number of top Jerusalem officials are trying to keep the situation calm.

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat asked the Israel Police not to evict the tent's residents, according to Arutz Sheva's Baruch Gordon. Jerusalem Deputy Mayor David Edri also requested that the protest be allowed to continue.

In addition, leading Likud MK Danny Danon and a number of other MKs convened an emergency meeting in Beit El to try and reach some resolution on the issue.

The Regulation Law calls for disputed land to be legalized for settlement if no Arab comes forward to prove an ownership claim within four years of the start of construction on the land. The law would legalize the status of the Ulpana neighborhood in Beit El, which is currently slated for demolition by order of the High Court.

The Court's ruling came following a petition by the far-left Peace Now movement on behalf of an Arab who claimed ownership – long after he his cousin of the same name had already sold the land to the town of Beit El. The Palestinian Authority has made the sale of land to Israelis a capital offense. Anyone suspected of such a crime is usually convicted – and anyone convicted of such a crime is sentenced to death.