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IDF clears activists from border; 17 arrested
By JPOST.COM STAFF AND TOVAH LAZAROFF
12/13/2011
"Hilltop youth" break into closed military zone along border to protest Jordanian condemnation of Mugrabi Bridge closure.
 
Seventeen right-wing activists were arrested Monday past midnight, according to Israel Police, after a group of about thirty broke into a closed military zone along the Jordanian border and occupied an old building. Among those arrested were three minors.

Security forces evacuated the activists after the group refused to leave voluntarily.

The activists were attempting to to establish a settlement outpost. According to the IDF, the activists breached the fence near the area of Kasr al-Yehud, but did not cross the international border between the two countries. They were, however, threatening to do so according to Channel 2.

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Activist Meir Bretler told The Jerusalem Post by telephone from the site that the protesters had entered an abandoned building located on the Israeli side of the Jordan River.

He said they wanted to create an outpost there named after the Likud headquarters in Tel Aviv, Metzudat Ze’ev.

The activists from the "hilltop youth" occupied the site near Jericho in protest of the Jordanian government's stance against the closure of the Mugrabi Bridge connecting the Western Wall to the Temple Mount.

The site itself is in a closed military zone separating the West Bank and the Jordanian border. Located near the banks of the Jordan River, the it is revered by many Christians as the place where biblical Saint John was baptized.

The activists were located approximately 200 meters from the border.

MK Michael Ben-Ari (National Union) said that if Jordan intervenes in Israel's internal affairs, it should not be surprised if Israelis do the same.

The issue of the Mugrabi bridge was reportedly raised late last month during a meeting in Amman between President Shimon Peres and Jordan's King Abdullah II.

Reuters contributed to this report.
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