Jewish settlers attack Israeli forces

Jewish settlers have pelted Israeli soldiers and police with rocks and eggs, as the troops put up a wall to protect a Palestinian home from settler attack.

    Jewish settlers live in the Israeli-controlled part of Hebron

    Two women settlers were detained and a third was slightly injured in a scuffle with soldiers, police spokesman Shlomi Sagi said on Wednesday.


    The security forces were building a 25 metre-long, 4.5-metre-high barrier around the Palestinian house which overlooks the Jewish enclave of Avraham Avinu in downtown



    The house was emptied on Israeli army orders shortly after the outbreak of Israeli-Palestinian violence in September 2000.


    The settlers also stoned several Palestinians, witnesses said.


    In one incident, a Palestinian who had been stoned began scuffling with soldiers and police. He was wrestled to the ground and handcuffed before being driven away in an

    armoured jeep.


    Dragged away


    Settlers, many of them young children, tried to block construction of the concrete wall by sitting astride it before being dragged away by troops and police.


    Police have maintained a regular guard to protect the home against attacks since a Supreme Court ruling reversed the army order, allowing Palestinians to return to the

    building. It is undergoing renovation and is not inhabited.


    Clashes between Palestinians and
    Jewish settlers are frequent

    Last month, masked settlers injured a policeman as he filmed them attacking the building with sledgehammers.


    In Wednesday's pre-dawn operation, the security forces took no chances, sending several hundred troops and police to the site, Sagi said.


    As part of interim peace accords, Hebron, a city of 130,000 Palestinians, was split into two parts in 1997.


    The downtown area remained under Israeli army control, while the other part was handed over to Palestinian control.


    About 500 Jewish settlers, many of them ultra-nationalists, live in the Israeli-controlled part. Clashes between settlers and Palestinians are frequent.


    Palestinians beaten


    On Tuesday, Israeli troops beat five unarmed Palestinian traffic police in the city when they refused to obey soldiers' orders to leave an area which the military said

    was off-limits to them.


    Hebron's Palestinian police chief, Awni Samara, said the policemen were in the Palestinian-controlled zone and were not violating any agreements with Israel.


    Since the latest round of Palestinian-Israeli violence erupted more four years ago, Israeli troops have moved in and out of the Palestinian controlled areas at will.

    SOURCE: Unspecified


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