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Israel court lifts injunction blocking removal of protest village

Jan. 16, 2013 9:01 P.M. (Updated: Jan. 17, 2013 8:30 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) – Israeli bulldozers started Wednesday evening to block roads leading to the West Bank Bab al-Shams protest village, a Palestinian official said.

The work started immediately after a decision by the Israeli High Court to cancel an injunction that barred removal of the village which activists founded with tents in the area called E-1 between East Jerusalem and Maale Adumim settlement, PA official Mahmoud Zawahra said.

The court said that leaving the encampment in place could incite unrest.

Israeli officials also decided Wednesday to bar entry of 18 Palestinian activists from accessing the Bab al-Shams area and imposed fines on 15 of them.

Zawahra, a member of Bab al-Shams village council, which the Palestinian Authority established during its Tuesday cabinet meeting, said 18 activists, detained Tuesday while coming back to Bab al-Shams, appeared Wednesday in Israeli military court at Ofer detention center.

The court, he added, decided to bar entry of those activists to the Bab al-Shams area. Fifteen of the activists were ordered to pay a fine of 1,000 shekels ($270) each.

Activists used a ruse employed during the first intifada to get past Israeli troops on Tuesday, staging a fake wedding.

Two activists dressed as the bride and groom, and a convoy of cars approached an Israeli checkpoint outside Bab al-Shams playing wedding songs, singing and clapping.

The activists got out of the cars and started walking to the checkpoint carrying Palestinian flags. Cameramen who appeared to be filming a wedding were in fact journalists.

MP Mustafa Barghouti described the ruse was an affront to Israeli authorities.

Israeli forces discovered the stunt and fired tear gas, rubber bullets and sound grenades at the activists, wounding cameraman Nasser al-Shyoukhi.

Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said 20 Palestinians were detained for questioning.

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