Israel has been slow to fulfil its pledge to remove dozens of small enclaves, built by Jewish settlers without government approval, under a US-backed "road map" to peace that has been sidelined by violence.

Police said more than 20 settlers had been arrested at the tiny Mitzpeh Yitzhar enclave, near the the Palestinian-ruled city of Nablus, after scuffling with soldiers trying take down makeshift structures.
 
A handful of such outposts have been removed in the past, most of them uninhabited, only to be rebuilt by Jewish settlers.

The Haaretz daily said the Mitzpeh Yitzhar had already been dismantled several times.

The attempt to remove the outpost came as Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon met Defence Minister Shaul Mofaz to discuss further evacuation of outposts, Haaretz said.

The move also coincided with Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmad Quraya's talks in Berlin with US President George Bush's top security adviser, Condoleezza Rice.

The road map calls for Israel to take down outposts built since Sharon took office in 2001 and freeze construction in more than 120 larger, established settlements on occupied land Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East war.