The sit-down protest on Sunday on Tel Aviv's Ayalon highway, in which tyres were set alight on the tarmac, was the latest attempt by radicals to disrupt plans for the evacuation of Gaza's 21 Jewish settlements and another four in the West Bank. 

"We were expecting something like this," Tel Aviv police chief David Tsur told Israel's Army Radio. "Within a few minutes, the traffic was opened in both directions. We have several arrests." 

A series of synchronised highway demonstrations last month paralysed traffic in much of Israel for several hours. 

Sunday's protest took place as police were deployed in Jerusalem to stop a planned far-right march on a site revered by Jews as the Temple Mount and by Muslims as the Haram al-Sharif (Noble Sanctuary), fearing it could spark Palestinian riots. 

Israeli officials have voiced concern that ultranationalists could mount coordinated protests to distract security forces who would otherwise carry out the withdrawals scheduled to begin on 20 July.