Middle East

Scuffles erupt as Israel police remove Migron settlers

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Media captionSettlers were forced down from a roof top by Israeli police

Israeli police have removed a group of Jewish settlers from an illegal West Bank outpost, amid scuffles.

Police dragged out a number of youths who refused to leave Migron, but most residents left voluntarily.

Last year, Israel's Supreme Court ruled that the post must be demolished because it was built on privately-owned Palestinian land.

Migron, north of Jerusalem and home to 280 settlers, is one of the largest unauthorised West Bank outposts.

About 500,000 Jews live in more than 100 settlements built since Israel's 1967 occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

These settlements are considered illegal under international law, though Israel disputes this.

Peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians remain deadlocked over the settlements issue.

Compromise site

Migron residents were handed eviction notices on Sunday morning.

Most of the settlers left peacefully, but a few youths holed themselves up and had to be forcefully removed.

Police said eight protesters - who were not Migron residents - were arrested.

Many of the residents painted graffiti on their homes which read: "Migron, we shall return", the Jerusalem Post newspaper reports.

The authorities then loaded the settlers' belongings onto lorries and took them to a nearby hill - part of a compromise with the settlers.

"All the families are gone," police spokeswoman Luba Samri told the AFP news agency later on Sunday.

The evacuation came two days ahead of the deadline set by the Supreme Court.

The court also rejected a deal between the government and the settlers to delay the evacuation until 2015 to allow the settlers to rebuild their homes at the compromise site.

About 4,000 Jewish settlers live in several dozen hill-top outposts on the West Bank erected without formal government approval since the late 1990s.

The outposts are illegal under Israeli law and Israel agreed to remove them under the 2003 roadmap peace plan.