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Last Updated: Thursday, 1 April, 2004, 22:11 GMT 23:11 UK
Israel police clash with settlers
A Jewish settler is carried away by police
Jewish settlers have vowed to rebuild the outpost
Israeli police have clashed with Jewish settlers in the West Bank after the army dismantled an unauthorised settlement outpost near Hebron.

Fourteen settlers were arrested as they tried to rebuild the small uninhabited outpost of Hazon David.

The site, which served as a makeshift synagogue, had been demolished by troops the day before.

Removing illegal outposts is one of Israel's commitments under the US-backed Middle East peace plan.

On Thursday, a US delegation held separate talks with Israeli and Palestinian officials in a new effort to revive the stalled plan, known as the roadmap.

The US team consists of special Middle East envoy William Burns, plus White House officials Stephen Hadley and Elliot Abrams.

Disengagement

The BBC's Wyre Davies in Jerusalem says few details have emerged of any progress from the meetings, but the Israelis were known to be seeking US support for Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's controversial plan to withdraw unilaterally from Gaza.

Washington is reported to be generally supportive of Mr Sharon's proposal, as long as it remains part of the roadmap.

After meeting the US delegation in the West Bank town of Jericho, Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qurei repeated his view that a withdrawal of Israeli troops and settlers from Gaza should be only the first step in a much more comprehensive process.

Mr Qurei has said he wants to be involved in negotiations over the Gaza pullout.

Our correspondent says more details of the disengagement plan may be revealed when Mr Sharon meets President George W Bush in Washington on 14 April.

Earlier on Thursday, Israeli troops arrested 12 Palestinians after a gun battle in the West Bank town of Bethlehem.

The arrests followed an hour-long exchange of fire at a psychiatric hospital in Bethlehem.

The Israeli army said there were no casualties and those arrested were wanted militants who were living in the hospital's administrative buildings.




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