Police dismantle tent camp set up by activists rallying against Israel’s building of illegal outposts in the West Bank.
Israel has dismantled a tent camp Palestinians set up during US President Barack Obama’s recent visit to protest Israeli plans to build a large West Bank settlement near Jerusalem.
Before dawn on Sunday, about 200 Israeli police officers removed some 40 demonstrators from the tent camp, said police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld.
Activists set up the camp, which they dubbed Bab al-Shams or «Gate of the Sun» in Arabic, near the West Bank Israeli settlement of Maale Adumim, in a bid to draw attention to Israeli plans to boost building in an area, known as E1.
During his visit last week, Obama singled out the E-1 settlement as particularly problematic.
The settlement of more 3,500 apartments would close in one of the last open spaces between East Jerusalem and the West Bank, territories the Palestinians want for their state along with the Gaza Strip.
Palestinian legislator Mustafa Barghouti, one of the organisers, told AFP news agency by phone on Sunday that he and four others were arrested and taken for questioning at Maale Adumim police station.
He said about 50 other protesters were put on buses and released in a Palestinian Authority-controlled part of the West Bank.
The camp was first set up in January but taken down by court order on the grounds of «public disorder».
The encampment is part of a new Palestinian tactic to protest against Israeli settlement expansion.
Israel has built dozens of settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem since 1967 that are now home to more than half a million Israelis. In addition, settlers have set up dozens of unauthorised outposts to claim more war-won land.