The Associated Press
July 24, 2008 - 4:24pm

More than 20 Jewish settlers attacked a Palestinian village in the West Bank on Thursday, smashing cars and windows and cutting electricity wires, Palestinian police said.

Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld, however, said settlers never entered the village itself although there were scuffles between Palestinians and Israelis outside the village of Burin on the road to the nearby settlement of Yitzhar. When police and soldiers intervened, a settler snatched a soldier's gun and fired in the air before being disarmed and arrested, Rosenfeld and the military said.

Palestinian policemen said dozens of houses and cars were damaged.

Rosenfeld said the settlers set up a roadblock of burning tires to protest Israel's demolition of an unauthorized structure near Yitzhar when Palestinians began pelting them and passing Israeli motorists with rocks.

Yitzhar is a known hotbed of ultranationalist Israelis who believe that the West Bank is part of the biblical land of Israel promised to the Jewish people by God. They oppose any concessions to the Palestinians.

Yitzhar residents have repeatedly fought farmers from the Palestinian villages that surround their hilltop settlement and have clashed with police sent to supervise demolition of unlicensed buildings.

In 2006, the Israeli army withdrew troops stationed at Yitzhar for its protection, citing repeated settler attacks on soldiers and destruction of military equipment.


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