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News

Israel evacuates Palestinians from tent camp in E1 region

Israeli security forces have removed about 100 Palestinians from a tent camp pitched in an area of the occupied West Bank that Israel has assigned for a new settlement. The controversial land is known as the E1 region.

Israeli security forces started evicting Palestinians from their tent camp in the West Bank early Sunday morning. The Palestinians set up the tent camp on Friday to protest against the construction of a controversial Jewish settlement.

The area, known as the E1 region, covers 4.6 square miles (12 square km) and extends into the West Bank and East Jerusalem. If the settlements are built, Palestinian access to East Jerusalem would be much more difficult.

Israel's Supreme Court ruled on Friday that the tent camp could remain for six days while the issue of its removal was discussed.

In the meantime, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered those gathered in the tent outpost to be evacuated, after petitioning the court to withdraw its ruling on the tent camp.

Hours later, Israeli security forces entered the compound and told the crowd of about 100 to leave the tents.

"Everyone was evacuated carefully and swiftly, without any injuries to officers or protesters," said police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld.

Netanyahu's government has accelerated settlement plans since the United Nations General Assembly voted last month to upgrade the Palestinian Authority to the status of a non-member observer state.

Approximately 500,000 Israelis and 2.5 million Palestinians live in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

hc/slk (Reuters, AFP)