Palestinians rally at Jordan Valley village site

DALIA NAMMARI Published:

RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) -- Palestinian activists are protesting to stake a claim to a part of the West Bank whose final status is in dispute in U.S.-mediated peace talks with Israel.

Hundreds of protesters went Friday to the site of Ein Hijleh, a Palestinian village in the Jordan Valley abandoned after Israel captured the land from Jordan in the 1967 Mideast war. Activists claim the residents were forced to leave.

Israel and the Palestinians have been squabbling over the fate of the strategic Jordan Valley. Israel wants to retain a security presence there even after a peace deal is reached, citing security concerns. Palestinians reject any Israeli presence there.

Activists said the Israeli military set up barriers to stop more activists joining. The military said they are investigating the report.