DAGAN HILL, Israeli-Occupied West Bank — Police and soldiers chased hundreds of Jewish settlers up and down a West Bank hilltop Monday in an eviction meant to show that right-wing Israelis will not be allowed to block the expansion of Palestinian self-rule.
The operation took all day. For hours, Jewish settlers who were dragged down Dagan Hill, about 12 miles south of Jerusalem, ran right back up to an encampment they had erected last week, declaring it to be a new part of the nearby Efrat settlement. Dozens of settlers were arrested.
By evening, the army had seized the hill after calling in reinforcements and surrounding the hill.
But settlers promised similar protests elsewhere in the West Bank.
Settler leaders said the confrontation, one of the largest ever between settlers and Israeli troops, proved their determination to block the expansion of Palestinian autonomy and served as a warning against any future attempt to dismantle settlements.
Israeli and PLO negotiators are meeting this week in the Red Sea resort of Eilat for talks on the withdrawal of Israeli troops from West Bank towns.