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Palestinians protest against new settlement outpost east of Jerusalem

UNITED STATES, WASHINGTON (OBSERVATORY) — Israeli forces on Friday fired tear gas and sound bombs at dozens of Palestinians protesting against a new outpost in the desert of Jerusalem.

In a barren desert stretching from east Jerusalem to the Dead Sea, Palestinians set up a sit-in tent opposite a tent set up by settlers on a nearby hill that residents refuse to buy.

“Almost a week ago, the settler landed on Saturday at 2 am and Sunday we were there and we told him to leave,” said Mohamed Halasa, the mayor of Sawahra al-Sharqiya, whose land is owned by her families.

“The settler said I bought the land and we told him we own this land with official arguments. You have nothing here,” he told Reuters in an interview at the sit-in tent.

Participants in the sit-in tent held Friday prayers, hundreds of meters from the tent set up by the settler.

After Friday prayers, dozens of Palestinians waved Palestinian flags, chanted national slogans and chanted slogans calling for settlers to leave.

Israeli forces intercepted the protesters and fired tear gas and sound bombs at them, while a group of settlers stood behind the army watching.

The mayor of Sawahra vowed that the Palestinians would not leave the sit-in tent until the settlers leave the area, where a number of tents are populated by Palestinians working to raise cattle.

“He claims to have bought the land but we have had an official argument since 1920 that we own the land,” he said.

“We will not leave this tent unless this settler leaves and the site is evacuated.”

This area, where the settlers are trying to establish a settlement outpost, is only a few kilometers from the settlements, including Ma’aleh Adumim.

“In the past nine months, Israel and its settlers have built nine new outposts,” said Walid Assaf, head of the PLO’s Wall Resistance Authority.

“In the past week, two new outposts have been set up,” he said at a sit-in tent. “Al-Mentar outpost and Al-Mukhurour outpost (near Bethlehem) are sensitive sites that target the outer perimeter of Jerusalem.”

“We are ready to fight together with them and defend their land,” Assaf said.

Assaf vowed not to allow a new settlement in the area

“We will not allow the occupation under the pretext of an agricultural tent to establish a settlement.”

“This land will remain Palestinian.”

Settlements and other issues are left to final status negotiations for a lasting peace between Palestinians and Israelis.

Palestinians and Israelis are awaiting US President Donald Trump’s announcement of a plan to achieve peace between the two sides.

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