Palestinian Arab in new outpost near Jericho
Palestinian Arab in new outpost near JerichoReuters

Some 300 Palestinian Arabs, accompanied by Israeli leftist activists, set up an outpost near Jericho on Friday, AFP reported.

According to the report, the Arabs and leftists took over around a dozen abandoned houses.

The protest, they said, was aimed at denouncing the repeated refusal of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to evict Jewish communities and agree to a pullout from the Jordan Valley.

The protesters arrived by bus and car and paraded a banner proclaiming "No peace with settlements", signed by the Youth Against Settlements group, reported AFP.

They brought generators with them, indicating that they plan to at least stay overnight.

Israeli police and soldiers deployed in the area, but made no immediate move to disperse the protest, the report said.

In March of last year, Palestinian Arabs set up an illegal outpost in the E1 area, which connects between Jerusalem and Maaleh Adumim, as U.S. President Barack Obama visited Israel.

Israeli police drove them out after several days of protest.

The latest protest comes as peace talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) continue, and amid reports that Secretary of State John Kerry is planning to present a framework for negotiations very soon.

Some reports have indicated that Kerry’s proposal  would involve a slow transition from IDF patrols over the Jordan Valley to PA forces, with an international presence. Israeli experts have warned that the area is strategically critical.

Netanyahu made clear last week that whatever Kerry brings forward would not be an agreement but " a suggestion for a framework for negotiations.”

“This is not an agreement, but a path to making progress,” Netanyahu told reporters in Davos.

He also clarified that he will not evict any Israeli communities as part of a peace agreement. A senior source within the Prime Minister's Office later told Arutz Sheva that when Netanyahu stated that "I do not intend to evacuate any settlements or uproot a single Israeli," he meant "not just settlements and Israelis in the Jordan Valley, but any settlements and any Israelis."

(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)