Israel removes Palestinian encampment outside East Jerusalem

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The activists’ large, steel-framed tents remained standing in accordance with an Israeli court order. Meanwhile, judges considered a Palestinian claim of ownership of the land where the encampment, dubbed “Bab al-Shams”, was built.

The Supreme Court approved removal of the tents on Wednesday, agreeing with the government's argument that they could be a magnet for violent Palestinian protests. That ruling was decried by activists who describe Bab al-Shams as a non-violent implementation of Palestinian rights.

Most countries view Jewish settlements in areas captured by Israel in the 1967 Middle East war as illegal and echo concerns voiced by Palestinians that building more settler homes could deny them a viable and contiguous state.

E1 covers some 12 square km and is considered particularly important because it not only juts into the narrow “waist” of the West Bank, but also backs onto East Jerusalem, where Palestinians want to establish their capital.

About 500,000 Israelis and 2.5 million Palestinians live in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Direct peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians broke down in 2010.

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