Last updated: 18 January, 2013

Palestinians form new West Bank protest camp

Palestinians set up tents and began work on a permanent structure in a West Bank village on Friday to protest Israel’s intention to confiscate land, an activist said.

“We pitched two tents and began building a new structure using concrete and stones in an area in Beit Iksa which Israel wants to take for settlement,” Said Yaqine told AFP.

“This action is not limited to today but will go on for several days, to declare our refusal of the Israeli decision to take the land,” he said.

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

“The only response to this could be to create facts on the ground, like Israeli settlers do,” he said.

Activists said they were naming the village extension Bab al-Karama, Arabic for Gate of Dignity.

A spokeswoman for the Israeli army did not indicate the military would be seeking to evacuate the encampment.

“Dozens of Palestinians are rioting near Beit Iksa and erected a structure at the location,” she said. Israeli “soldiers were deployed in order to maintain the security in the area.”

During the night between Wednesday and Thursday, Israeli police dismantled a 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.