Settlers on Thursday tried to rebuild a ‘synagogue’ which was taken down on Wednesday. Fifteen settlers, including two minors, were arrested during the clashes.
Under international law, all Jewish settlements are illegal, a stance not recognised by Israel.
But Palestinian sources in the area said the settlement was uninhabited and comprised of a tent and two secondhand mobile homes near the Kiryat Arba outpost next to Hebron, reported Aljazeera’s correspondent in the West Bank.
The synagogue was a dismantled tent where the settlers occasionally prayed, said Khalid Amayreh.
Palestinians dismissed Wednesday’s claims that a settlement had been dismantled as a “big lie”.
“It seems to me that [Israeli Prime Minister Ariel] Sharon wants to give an impression that he is dismantling settlements ahead of his planned visit to Washington,” Abd al-Hadi Hantash, a Hebron municipal official and expert on Jewish settlements in the West Bank, told Aljazeera.net.
Sharon is expected to meet US President George Bush on 14 April in Washington to garner support for his so-called “disengagement plan” from the occupied Gaza Strip.
The plan calls for a unilateral withdrawal from Gaza and some settlements in the West Bank. However, Palestinians fear the move will demarcate the borders of a future Palestinian state and consolidate Israel’s control on larger settlements blocs in the West Bank.