Tempers Flare Over Gaza Pullout

An injured Jewish settler is helped after he was hit by a rock during clashes with Palestinian Mawasi residents near a Palestinian house that was taken over by Jewish settlers in the past days near the Jewish settlement of Shirat Hayam, in the Gush Katif bloc of settlements Wednesday June 29, 2005.
Jewish settlers got militant Wednesday over Israel's plans to pull out of the Gaza Strip in two months, both inside and outside Israel.

Soldiers fired into the air to stop a clash between settlers and Palestinian residents at an outpost on the outskirts of the Shirat Hayam settlement. The clash broke out shortly after Israeli soldiers forcibly removed about 20 settlers who had holed up in the outpost — an abandoned Palestinian home. Settlers and Palestinians threw stones at one another, wounding at least three people, witnesses said.

Young Jewish settlers went on a stone-throwing rampage after clashing with Israeli troops at a house they occupied on the outskirts of this Jewish settlement Wednesday, attacking nearby Palestinian residents in a violent melee that left at least three people wounded. A Palestinian was in critical condition.

Earlier, during morning rush hour, right-wing Israelis opposed to the Gaza pullout scattered nails and oil across a main highway during morning rush hour, crippling traffic, reports CBS News Correspondent Robert Berger.

During afternoon rush hour, protesters periodically blocked the highway at the entrance to Jerusalem. Police used a water cannon to disperse the demonstrators, most of them children and teenagers, and some arrests were made.

Thousands of police were out in force to keep highways open after an extremist group vowed to stop traffic all over the country. The only other successful attempt to block a highway was reported near the northern Israeli port city of Haifa.

The outpost clash began with dozens of Jewish youths exchanged blows with soldiers sent to evict them from the outpost. Soldiers restrained the activists and dragged several through the sand into a waiting army vehicle. There were no immediate reports of injuries.

The settlers established the outpost earlier this week after Israeli troops demolished 11 nearby buildings. Authorities had feared that opponents of Israel's planned withdrawal from the Gaza Strip would use the buildings as centers of resistance during the evacuation, set to begin in mid-August.

Several cars were damaged on the main Jerusalem-Tel Aviv highway in the morning protest.

"This was an ugly act, throwing oil and hundreds of 'ninja' nails on the road," traffic police chief Reuven Edri told Israel Radio. No injuries were reported, and the road was reopened within an hour.

Settlers spokeswoman Aliza Hurbst called it counter-productive.