May 30, 2011 - 12:00am

RAMALLAH, May 30 (Xinhua) -- The Israeli army arrested eight Palestinians in the West Bank before clashes erupted between dozens of youths and Jewish settlers, witnesses and security sources said Monday.

The Israeli forces demolished a store selling construction materials in Qalqilya city and leveled agricultural lands near the holy city of Bethlehem, which the Palestinians said was to expand roads leading to a Jewish settlement in the area.

Israel Radio reported that the wanted Palestinians were arrested in several cities in the West Bank.

Meanwhile, clashes erupted when the settlers entered Palestinian-controlled area in Nablus city to visit a Jewish holy place called Joseph's Tomb, witnesses said.

Israeli forces accompanied the settlers, the witnesses said. The Palestinians threw stones and rocks at the forces. An Israeli army spokesperson told Israel Radio that the army evacuated 50 settlers who insisted to stay in the tomb's surroundings.

In April, an Israeli settler was killed and several others were wounded in clashes with Palestinian police. The Palestinians said that the settlers entered the area without coordinating in advance with the Palestinian authorities.

Israel occupied the West Bank in 1967, but returned parts of it to the Palestinian National Authority in the 1990s. Now, there are about half a million settlers live in 120 settlements in the West Bank. Israel retains control on the lands where the settlements are situated and their surroundings.


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