AFP
Last updated: 16 January, 2013

Top Israeli court approves dismantling Palestinian outpost

Israel’s Supreme Court on Wednesday approved dismantling a Palestinian camp set up on a West Bank site slated for Jewish settlement, three days after its inhabitants had already been evicted.

The court ruling said that the risk of “public disorder” outweighed “arguments of the (Palestinian) petitioners concerning property rights.”

On Sunday, Israeli police evicted scores of Palestinian activists from the camp they set up in the controversial E1 area on the outskirts of Jerusalem.

The Palestinians had previously obtained a Supreme Court injunction allowing them to keep the tent camp, but Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, in the middle of a re-election campaign, called for the decision to be reversed.

The court did not overturn the injunction before the eviction, but activists said they were told Israeli officials considered the injunction prevented only the removal of the tents, and not the eviction of activists.

In documents released to the media, state lawyers argued that the protest could attract rightwing Israeli settlers, “some of them extremists,” who would stage counter-demonstrations that could result in “breaches of the peace against Palestinians and security forces.”

Israel recently moved forward with plans to build in the area, drawing international criticism for the move, which Palestinians say would effectively end the chances for the creation of a contiguous Palestinian state.

The camp was a new tactic in the Palestinian arsenal of non-violent protest action against Israel’s occupation of the West Bank.