BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- Palestinian and international activists at the Ein Hajla protest encampment in the Jordan Valley repulsed three attempts by Israeli forces to enter the village overnight, while nine activists from Jerusalem were detained trying to reach the area.
Mustafa Barghouthi, a member of the Palestinian parliament and the secretary general of the Palestinian National Initiative, told Ma'an that Ein Hajla had woken up "victorious" over the Israeli occupation after numerous attempts to dislodge protesters.
Barghouti, who is in the camp, said that protesters spent all night defending the village and repelled three attempts by Israeli forces to storm the area.
He added that occupation forces advanced about 150 meters towards the center of the village while firing sound and light bombs at the encampment, but activists had managed to prevent any direct attack on the camp.
He also said that a number of people were able to enter the village and join the protest encampment after taking dirt roads around Israeli checkpoints, highlighting that media and others have been barred by Israeli forces from entering the area.
Nine activists from Jerusalem, however, were detained while trying to access the encampment on Saturday evening.
According to Hani Halabiyeh, a spokesperson for the youth movement, Israeli forces stationed at the entrance to the village detained nine activists as they tried to enter the encampment.
He identified the nine activists as Omar Al-Shalabi, Mohammed Hassan Mattar, Sami Abu Ghaliya, Muhammad al-Khatib, Khaled Gharabli, Nidal Abu Gharbiya, Musa Attiya, Walid Alian, and Thaer Anis.
He explained that the leaders were prevented from entering the village before being arrested and transferred to a police station.
An Israeli army spokeswoman did not return calls seeking comment.
Hundreds of activists set up an encampment at Ein Hajla on Friday in protest against Israeli settlement activities, attempts to annex the Jordan Valley, and confiscation of lands belonging to a local Orthodox church.
The protest follows similar efforts by Palestinian protesters in the encampments of Bab al-Shams and Ahfad Younis in early 2013 that were dispersed by Israeli forces.
Jewish settlers frequently raid Palestinian lands and set up illegal outposts across the West Bank, usually uninhibited by Israeli authorities and often supported by Israeli military forces. These outposts are often chosen for their strategic locations between Palestinian villages and atop hills or major roads.
Israeli forces often provide security for the settlers, confiscating nearby Palestinian lands and expanding military presence.
Many of these outposts are eventually developed into permanent settlements, and today nearly 500,000 Israeli Jews live in settlements built across the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.
The internationally recognized Palestinian territories of which the West Bank and East Jerusalem form a part have been occupied by the Israeli military since 1967.