Palestinians gather at new West Bank protest camp

Palestinians gather at new West Bank protest camp

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Sun, 20/01/2013 - 16:49
AFP

BEIT IKSA, Palestinian Territories — Some 200 Palestinians gathered on Saturday at a new encampment in a West Bank village, protesting for the second consecutive day Israel's intention to confiscate land.

"We have settled on the lands of the Beit Iksa village to prevent its confiscation by the Israeli army," Osama Zayed, village resident and one of the organizers of the initiative, told AFP.

The activists erected four tents since Friday and were building a structure to serve as a mosque.

Ziad Abu Ein, an official from Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas' Fatah movement, told AFP that "many such villages should be created, to remove the occupation and the settlements."

Activists say the Israeli army recently announced it would confiscate over 500 dunams (124 acres, 50 hectares) of land by the village, located on the northwestern outskirts of Jerusalem.

The village extension was named Bab al-Karama, Arabic for "Gate of Dignity."

The Israeli army was monitoring the developments, but on Saturday had no comment on the activities.

Two military jeeps had arrived at the site, but were blocked by the activists, who stood in the way to the tents singing songs. The vehicles turned around and left.

During the night between Wednesday and Thursday, Israeli police dismantled a different Palestinian protest camp of 24 tents set up on a controversial piece of land on the outskirts of Jerusalem.

Activists established the camp, which they dubbed Bab al-Shams, or Gate of the Sun in Arabic, in a bid to draw attention to Israeli plans to build in the area, known as E1.