May 6, 2006

Israel police, settlers clash over Hebron eviction

HEBRON, West Bank (Reuters) - Israeli police deployed to
evict Jewish settlers accused of squatting in a Palestinian
home in the West Bank city of Hebron scuffled with scores of
settlers' supporters on Sunday, police and witnesses said.

They said 13 policemen were injured in the confrontations,
some by Molotov cocktails thrown by settlers standing on the
roof of the disputed house. Five settlers were arrested.

Two dozen settlers moved into the three-storey house last
month, saying it had been bought from its Palestinian owners.
Palestinians rejected the claim. Israel's High Court on
Thursday ordered the settlers evicted pending a ruling on

The eviction will test the new Israeli government of Prime
Minister Ehud Olmert, who plans to evacuate dozens of isolated
settlements in the occupied West Bank and set borders in the
absence of peace talks with the Palestinians.

Olmert has not said what he intends to do with the some 400
settlers who live among 130,000 Palestinians in Hebron, a
frequent flashpoint of Israeli-Palestinian violence.

"We are expecting to carry out this operation in as short a
time as possible," police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld said as
scores of riot police deployed outside the Hebron house.