Text size

Police removed late Sunday 60 right-wing activists who tried to erect a new outpost near the West Bank city of Hebron. One man, who tried to attack police, was detained.

Security forces intend to evict dozens of other activists who marched Sunday to eight other sites in the West Bank in order to erect outposts, and stayed overnight.

Police have already declared the sites closed military zones in efforts to foil the settlers' plans, but largely did not prevent the marchers from reaching their destinations and holding Hanukkah celebrations.

Yesha Council Chair Danny Dayan told Israel Radio that erecting new outposts was not the council's initiative, and that he believed settlers should change their strategy.

Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai told Israel Radio that he considers these attempts criminal and nothing more than a short-lived gimmick.

The biggest group, which included around 200 activists, marched from the settlement of Ma'aleh Adumim toward a site between Jerusalem and Ma'aleh Adumim in area E-1, where they were planning to erect a new outpost named "Mevaseret Adumim."

Several dozen police officers were summoned to the area, but the march went ahead without interruption. Several dozen left-wing Peace Now activists also arrived at the site, as well as Beitar Jerusalem football club supporters carrying the club's flag.

According to the rightists, police forces blocked route 60, the road leading to the site of the planned outpost.

Settler activists said they planned to try to set up two additional West Bank outposts and try to reclaim five other outposts already evacuated in recent months.

The Palestinians fear that continued settlement expansion will make it increasingly difficult to establish a Palestinian state. Some 450,000 Israelis live on land that the Palestinians claim for their state.

Settlers began setting up outposts more than a decade ago in an effort to break up Palestinian areas and prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state. The more than 100 outposts range from isolated trailers to permanent construction on a larger scale. Many are near existing, authorized settlements, in effect extending their reach.