Israel gives Palestinians hour to quit protest outpost

Zaim, Palestinian Territories:  The Israeli occupation administration gave Palestinian activists one hour Saturday to quit a protest camp in part of the West Bank where Israel has vowed to build new settler homes, an organiser told AFP.

More than 200 activists erected a 20-tent "outpost" on Friday in the sensitive West Bank corridor east of Jerusalem where Palestinians say Israeli settlement construction would destroy the prospects of territorial contiguity for their promised state.

They modelled their action on the wildcat outposts set up by Jewish settler activists on Palestinian land in a bid to force the government's hand into authorising settlement activity.

"Members of the Israeli Civil (military) Administration told us this morning that we have one hour to evacuate the site," one of the organisers, Abir Copty, told AFP.

"We have no intention of leaving of our own accord," she added.

The protest outpost, dubbed Bab al-Shams (Gate of the Sun in Arabic), was welcomed on Friday by a senior Palestinian official who described it as a "highly creative and legitimate non-violent" way of protecting Palestinian land from Israeli settlement activity.

The camp lies between annexed Arab east Jerusalem and the Jewish settlement of Maale Adumim.

The international community regards all Jewish settlements on occupied Palestinian land as illegal. The Israeli government makes a distinction between those which it has authorised and those which it has not, and sometimes clears the latter.

Story First Published: January 12, 2013 15:27 IST

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