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Israel settlers march in protest at Palestinian UN bid

September 20, 2011

Israeli settlers from the Yitzhar settlement throw stones at Palestinian villagers during clashes on September 20, 2011 in the West Bank village of Asira al-Qibiliya, south of Nablus. -AFP Photo

BEIT EL: A few dozen Israeli settlers were on Tuesday marching along roads in the northern West Bank to protest against Palestinian plans to seek full membership of the United Nations.

One group marched from Beit El settlement near the West Bank city of Ramallah towards a military base, waving Israeli flags and singing, as a second group left the northern settlement of Itamar, AFP correspondents said.

“This is our land, and there will never be a Palestinian state on the homeland of the Jewish people,” said Michael Ben Ari, an ultra-nationalist member of parliament who led the Beit El march.

The demonstrations came as the Palestinians prepare to formally ask the United Nations on Friday to admit a Palestinian state as a member of the world body.

The move is fiercely opposed by Israel, and particularly by the settler movement which has vowed to stop a Palestinian state becoming a reality on the ground.

Earlier this month, right-wing parliamentarians and radical settler activists met to mull a plan of action for September, promising to stage mass demonstrations and rallies against the Palestinian bid.

None have so far materialised. The Palestinians are planning a series of rallies and marches across the West Bank to support their bid, which they say will be entirely peaceful and will stick within areas under their control.