Israel to Court: Palestinian outpost aimed to trigger riots

Gov’t gears to evict Palestinians squatters who set up encampment in contested E-1 area of West Bank, stating that their presence poses security threat because it could provoke unrest.

Aviel Magnezi

 

Israeli security forces geared to evict the Palestinians staying in the Bab al-Shams outpost that was erected in the contested West Bank area of E1.

Bonfire at outpost Photo: AFP

Bonfire at outpost – Photo: AFP

“An urgent evacuation is required due to a pressing security need,” the State said in a petition filed with the High Court of Justice late on Saturday.

Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein said in the document that the State has issued orders to define the outpost as a closed military zone and to remove squatters from its land.

Weinstein argued that the encampment was set up in order to provoke riots “of national and international consequence,” citing up-to-date intelligence information.

According to the petition, most of the tents have been pitched on the State’s lands, and allowing the protesters to stay where they are will create friction with settlers and could trigger widespread unrest.

המאחז הפלסטיני ב-E1. "לפעול בדחיפות למנוע מהומות" (צילום: AFP)

Bab al-Shams on Saturday night – Photo: AFP

The State “indents to act urgently to fulfill the right to evacuate everyone from the area,” Weinstein wrote. The State will then examine whether the law requires the tents to remain or be removed.

The document was filed in response to a temporary injunction issued by the High Court in order to bar the State from removing the protesters from the outpost as long as there isn’t an emergency warranting an evacuation. In the meantime, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the routes leading up to the outpost to be closed to traffic, rendering the area a closed military zone.

מאחז באב אל-שאמס. המדינה מבקשת לפנותו  (צילום: אוהד צויגנברג)

The outpost – Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg

A group of 200 Palestinians, backed by foreign activists, created the encampment, whose name means “Gate of the Sun,” near Ma’aleh Adumim on Friday, setting into motion a series of legal exchanges between the Palestinians’ representatives and the State.

On Saturday, the government ordered the leaders of Bab al-Shams to immediately vacate the premises.

The outpost’s leaders then petitioned the High Court to block the warrant, claiming that the encampment was set up on their own private land and it is part of the village of At-Tur, where they reside. The tents, they claimed, where meant to act as a tourist center spotlighting Bedouin heritage. The decision to evict them went against zoning laws because it did not give them a chance to voice their arguments, they said.

The leaders said that if Israeli security forces were to make them leave, they would do so with only passive resistance.

Mahmoud Zawara, of the Popular Palestinian Committees, told Ynet that the 30-tent outpost was set up as part of the “Palestinian struggle” against Israel’s planned construction in the area.

 

View original Ynet publication at: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4331616,00.html

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