The Israeli High Court reversed on Wednesday its temporary injunction preventing the dismantling of the Palestinian Bab a-Shams tent city located on the controversial strip of land east of Jerusalem known as E1. The court accepted the state’s position, which argued that “there is an urgent security need to evacuate the area of people and tents.”
The state also claimed that Palestinian Authority officials, who were involved in the raising of the tents, meant to stir up riots and protests at the scene. The state lawyers also warned of protests by right wing extremists.
The judges ruled that although the tents may have been located on private Palestinian property, security concerns outweigh the landowners’ appeal to keep the tents in place. The judges also stated that the removal of the tents would not cause any serious financial damage and was therefore justified.
On Tuesday afternoon, three days after they were removed from the area by Israeli police and soldiers, hundreds of Palestinians and international activists attempted to march back to Bab a-Shams, where they were met by Israeli security forces who barred them from entering. Some activists reported the use of stun grenades and tear gas by the police.
Several activists were arrested.
The area has been a closed military zone since last Friday, when Palestinian activists set up the tent village to protest Israeli settlement activity.
Police forces entered the makeshift tent city just before 3 a.m. on Sunday, where they came across activists sitting on the ground as a form of nonviolent resistance. About 100 protesters were moved off the land and put on buses to Qalandiya.
The 25 tents at the site were left untouched, and soldiers remained at the site to keep any activists from returning.
Israel recently revived plans to build in the E1 area, drawing harsh international condemnation. Critics say settlement construction there would make a contiguous Palestinian state nearly impossible.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.