The High Court of Justice has issued a temporary injunction barring the State from removing an outpost erected by Palestinians in the West Bank as long as there isn't an emergency warranting an evacuation.
Government officials were expected to petition the court on Saturday evening to void the injunction. In the meantime, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the routes leading up to the outpost to be closed to traffic, rendering the area a closed military zone.
- Palestinians erect outpost in E1 area
- Netanyahu delays E1 construction plans
- Abbas: New Israeli settlements 'red line'
Earlier in the day, the government ordered the leaders of the Bab al-Shams outpost, which was set up in the disputed E1 area, near Ma'aleh Adumim, to immediately vacate the premises.
A group of 200 Palestinians, backed by foreign activists, created the encampment, whose name means "Gate of the Sun," in the early hours of Friday morning.
Mahmoud Zawara, of the Popular Palestinian Committees, told Ynet that the 30-tent outpost was being set up as part of the "Palestinian struggle" against Israel's planned construction in the area.
"Members of the Israeli Civil Administration in the West Bank told us this morning that we had an hour to evacuate," one of the organizers, Abir Copty, said Saturday. "We did not want to leave ourselves," she added.
Israeli security forces were called to the area Saturday morning to ensure the eviction order was carried out before the High Court granted the Palestinians' petition to block the measure.
According to Palestinian sources, the people in the encampment were told that they must vacate the area – but can leave their tents in place.
The outpost's leaders said that if Israeli security forces make them leave, they will do so with only passive resistance.
The Palestinian encampment was meant to be a replica on Jewish ones erected across the West Bank. Its creation was lauded by Palestinian leaders, including Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.
Palestinian leaders, including Mustafa Barghouti, member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, visited the campers in the morning. Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat told AFP that the Israeli army stopped him from arriving at the outpost.
About 100 Palestinians activists arrived at the outpost in the afternoon from Ramallah with blankets, food and water for those who stayed the night.
"We, the Palestinians are still pessimistic but this initiative gives us reason to be optimistic," activist Jhassan Omar, 27, from Ramallah, said. "This is a new type of resistance."
Israel's construction plans for the area have been slammed by the international community. The Palestinian Authority says any Israeli building in the area will essentially split it into two and prevent the formation of a Palestinian state.
You can contact Elior Levy, Ynet's Palestinian Affairs Correspondent, at: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Receive Ynetnews updates
directly to your desktop