Court rules to allow removal of Palestinian E1 tents

High Court accepts state's contention that protest tents serve as "magnet for disturbances of public order."

Palestinian activists erect tents in E1 370 (photo credit: REUTERS)
Palestinian activists erect tents in E1 370
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The High Court of Justice on Wednesday canceled a temporary injunction which had prevented Israeli security forces from taking down a tent city set up by Palestinian activists at E1 last week, in protest of Israeli plans to build in the sensitive area between Jerusalem and Ma'aleh Adumim.
Early Sunday morning Border Police forcibly evacuated over 100 activists from the encampment, which Palestinians have called Bab Alshams. However they left the tents, which were protected by the injunction.
On Wednesday, the court defined the tent city as a "magnet for disturbances of public order."
The court added that it would continue to discuss the petition against removing the tents, stating that the removal of the tents was not an "irreversible step."
On Tuesday night, in its petition to the court, the state disputed the activists’ claim that the land was private Palestinian property, noting that it had been declared state land in 1982 and again in 2005.
The state added that the Palestinians were staging a nationalist battle that had little to do with property rights.
High-level Palestinian politicians are behind the movement, the state warned, noting that the Palestinian Authority’s chief negotiator Saeb Erekat was stopped Saturday on his way to the encampment.
The state warned that the tents were provocative and would cause continued public disturbances. They serve as an incentive for Palestinians to continue to attempt to return to the encampment, it said.
The activists plan to use the new encampment to exploit the emotions of the international community, the state wrote to the court in its legal brief.
The creation of Bab Alshams was sparked by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s November 30 decision to advance plans to build 3,500 new units on E1.
Both Israelis and Palestinians claim that the area is integral for future development to securing their future in the region, and both want sovereignty over it.
Tovah Lazaroff and Ben Hartman contributed to this report.