Israeli police overnight evicted dozens of Palestinians who had set up a protest encampment in E-1, a disputed area between east Jerusalem and the West Bank settlement of Maaleh Adumim.
“We won’t permit anyone to endanger the contiguity between Jerusalem and Maaleh Adumim,” Netanyahu told the weekly Cabinet meeting in Jerusalem, according to a text message from his office.
The Israeli government issued preliminary approval on Nov. 30 to build homes in E-1, sparking criticism from the U.S., United Nations and European Union that such a move could endanger the peace process. Palestinians say Israeli construction in the area would disrupt the territorial viability of their future state.
Israel’s eviction of peaceful demonstrators from E-1 is “shameful,” Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said. “Palestinians are not trying to build a settlement there, Palestinians are trying to protect the land of their state,” Erekat said in an interview on Israel’s Army Radio
Peace talks were suspended in 2010 after Netanyahu declined to renew a freeze on settlement construction that Palestinians say must be a pre-condition to renewing negotiations.