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Middle East

Israelis evict Palestinian protest camp

Activists and residents of area protesting illegal Israeli settlement activity forcefully removed by authorities.
Last Modified: 02 Feb 2013 14:42
The Israeli army used tear gas and violence to remove hundreds of people who had set up temporary huts [AFP]

Israeli authorities have fired tear gas and violently evicted Palestinians and activists who were setting up a protest camp near an Occupied West Bank village.

An AFP correspondent said the army used tear gas and violence to remove hundreds of people who had set up four temporary huts and three tents near Burin, south of Nablus, in the northern Occupied West Bank on Saturday.

The correspondent said journalists were also forcefully removed from the site. He said security forces made arrests, but he was unaware of any injuries.

A police spokesperson confirmed that seven Palestinians and one settler were arrested. She said a settler was injured when a rock hit his head during mutual stone-throwing, and was taken to hospital near Tel Aviv.

"It is all quiet there now," she added.

An army spokesperson said that before the eviction, there was "a violent and illegal riot taking place near Burin" involving some 150 Palestinians throwing stones at soldiers, who responded with riot dispersal means.

'The neighbourhood'

Earlier on Saturday, residents and activists set up what they called "the neighbourhood... Al-Manatir", activist Abir Kopty told AFP.

According to Kopty, the name means "the traditional stone huts Palestinians built in their agricultural lands, which were used as shelter for the watchmen of the fields".

"Burin lost a lot of its land to the settlements around, Har Bracha and others, and is subject to settlers' terror and attacks on the people," she said.

Kopty said settlers had thrown stones at village residents and activists from afar before the army became involved. After the eviction, one of the structures was taken away by a group of settlers.

An Israeli officer told AFP photographer Jaafar Ashtiye as he documented Saturday's events that he would be arrested at his home during the night.

A military spokesman said in response to an AFP call that such remarks were inappropriate, and that he would investigate the allegation.

Kopty said the encampment was on Burin village land, and noted that there were "small attempts here and there, but this was the third massive" such undertaking.

In January, Palestinians put up a 24-tent protest camp on disputed land on the eastern outskirts of Jerusalem, 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.

Later that month, activists set up an encampment of four tents and a structure under construction to protest against Israel's intention to confiscate land near Beit Iksa northwest of Jerusalem, naming it Bab al-Karama, or "Gate of Dignity."

Both encampments were later removed by the Israeli military which controls those parts of the Occupied West Bank.

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