Cairo:  The 22-member Arab League called on the Palestinians on Tuesday to refuse to heed amended orders from the Israeli military that could trigger deportations from the occupied West Bank.

The pan-Arab organisation pledged its "full support for Palestinian steps in the occupied territories to resist this decision."

Its statement called on Palestinians "to reject and not cooperate and acquiesce in it."

An Israeli newspaper said amendments to an existing order on preventing infiltration could apply to Palestinians living in the West Bank without official ID cards issued by Israel, as well as to Israelis and foreigners working in areas under limited Palestinian control.

The Israeli military insisted that the new orders merely formalise existing procedures and said there would be no new wave of deportations from the territory.

Meanwhile, Palestinians protested on Tuesday against the  potential Israeli threat to expel West Bank residents.

The Palestinians' chief negotiator Saeb Erakat said the effect of Israel's new military orders would be to turn West Bank Palestinians into "criminals in their own homes."

Hundreds of Palestinians, meanwhile, held a sit-in demonstration.

"Smash Israeli apartheid, free Palestine," more than 200 demonstrators chanted in the centre of the West Bank city of Ramallah, political capital of the Palestinian National Authority. "I have the right to move inside my country."

Palestinian prime minister Salam Fayyad said on the sidelines of a donor meeting in Madrid that the potential expulsion threat was "in every way illegal."

Erakat argued that the new orders "make it infinitely easier for Israel to imprison and expel Palestinians from the West Bank.