Police block 50 activists returning to E1 tent city

Officers confront, arrest some 20 Palestinians after activists attempt to reoccupy tents by posing as a traditional wedding party.

Palestinian activists erect tents in E1 370 (photo credit: REUTERS)
Palestinian activists erect tents in E1 370
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Police, using stun grenades, blocked about 50 Palestinian activists who tried on Tuesday to reoccupy tents they pitched last week in protest of government plans to build 3,500 Jewish homes outside of Jerusalem.
Israel has drawn strong international criticism over plans to build settler homes in the area, known as "E1", which connects the two parts of the West Bank outside Arab suburbs of east Jerusalem.
Protesters who tried to return to the tents on Tuesday were confronted by police officers who told them the site had been designated off-limits by the army.
One activist wore a white bridal gown and their cars were decked out in bright ribbons, making the protest look like a traditional Palestinian wedding.
"The protesters continued to make their way up. Police pushed the protesters back down the hill," police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said. "Two stun grenades were used to disperse the protesters and prevent attempts to climb back up."
Twenty Palestinians were detained for questioning, he said.
On Friday, activists under the auspices of the Palestinian NGO the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee ascended to an E1 hilltop, located just outside Jerusalem. Some 250 Palestinians erected over 20 large white tents to protest Netanyahu’s November 30 decision to advance plans to build 3,500 Jewish homes there.
Palestinians have also claimed that their territorial contiguity from Ma’aleh Adumim to east Jerusalem is vital to the viability of their future state.
Palestinian activists called their newly created outpost “Bab Alshams” (Gate of the Sun).
Tovah Lazaroff and Jpost.com Staff contributed to this report.