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Israel evicts Jewish settlers from illegally built West Bank homes

Police said they started the evacuation on Tuesday of the Netiv Avot unauthorized outpost in Gush Etzion. Picture by Ariel Schalit, Associated Press

Israeli police have started evacuating Jewish settlers from 15 homes built illegally on private Palestinian land in the West Bank.

Dozens of settlers protested against the evacuation, with some throwing stones and bottles at police.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said three officers were lightly wounded in the scuffles and that police arrested two people.

Protesters opposed to the move also blocked the entrance to Jerusalem, jamming traffic.

Mr Rosenfeld said the evacuation proceeded mostly smoothly, with families leaving their homes without resisting.

After the eviction, Israeli forces are expected to demolish the structures in the Netiv Ha'avot outpost. The government said it will compensate the residents and rebuild their homes on nearby lands that are not privately owned.

Israel's Supreme Court ordered the eviction because the homes were built on private Palestinian land.

A law passed last year legalising dozens of settler outposts in the West Bank is being challenged at the High Court.

Israel captured the West Bank and east Jerusalem from Jordan in the 1967 war and today about 600,000 settlers live in those areas.

Most of the international community considers settlements to be either illegal or illegitimate. The Palestinians seek the territories along with the Gaza Strip for their hoped-for state.

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