ZAIM (AFP) - Israeli police evicted dozens of Palestinian activists early Sunday from a first-of-its-kind protest camp they set up in a West Bank area slated for Jewish settlement.

Police and activists confirmed that hundreds of Israeli police entered the campsite in the controversial E1 area on the outskirts of Jerusalem at around 2:30 am (00.030 GMT) on Sunday. They quickly bundled around 200 Palestinian activists at the Bab al-Shams (Gate of the Sun in Arabic) camp into buses and drove them from the site. The camp been set up on Friday in the E1 area between Israeli annexed east Jerusalem and the Maaleh Adumim settlement.

Israel recently moved forward with plans to build in the area, drawing international criticism for the move, which Palestinians say would effectively end the chances for the creation of a contiguous Palestinian state. "Hundreds of Israeli police came from all directions, surrounding all those who were in the tents and arresting them one by one," Palestinian legislator Mustafa Barghouti told AFP.

But police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told AFP that no arrests had been made. "They were told they were trespassing and carefully escorted from the site one by one," he said. "Nobody was hurt on either side," he added, saying around 500 police took part in the operation.

Meanwhile, Israel's defence ministry has published plans for 170 new housing units and another 84 guest rooms in the West Bank settlement of Rotem in the Jordan Valley, anti-settlement activists said on Sunday. The settlement itself previously received govt approval, but no building plan was set out, according to Hagit Ofran of the Peace Now organisation.

"Last week it was deposited for public review. It is talking about 200 units, 30 of them are already built. In addition, another 84 units are proposed for guest rooms," she said.

"It will be deposited for 60 days for the public to file objections. After all objections are collected and heard, the planning committee will decide whether to approve or refuse the plan. Usually they approve it."