Palestinians moved into Israel’s E1 region last Friday and erected tents with the intent of staging a long-term protest against recently planned Israeli settlement construction. The protests are a result of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plans, announced on November 30, to build 3,000 homes in E1, which is located directly east of Jerusalem. Netanyahu’s announcement came less than 24 hours after the Palestinian Authority successfully petitioned to be considered a United Nations observer state.
Construction of the homes would link Jerusalem to the nearby Israeli settlement of Maaleh Adumim. This would not only strengthen Israel’s presence in the West Bank, but Palestinian supporters fear it will also cut off the Arab-occupied East Jerusalem from the Arabic town of Ramallah.