JERUSALEM (Sep. 21)
Israeli soldiers forcibly removed several score squatters from a hilltop near Nablus on the West Bank today, ending an attempt by the militant Gush Emunim to establish an illegal settlement in defiance of the government. A military spokesman said three squatters and two soldiers were injured slightly.
The army acted on orders from Defense Minister Ezer Weizman after the Gush angrily rejected his offer to move them to other settlement sites on the West Bank. Soldiers, leaving their weapons behind, clambered up the steep, 1800-foot slope and cut through a ring of barbed wire to reach the squatters.
They wrestled with about 50 men while some 30 women and children huddled in tents and shacks. Most of the men and some of the women had to be hauled bodily down the hillside to waiting army trucks, but most of the women and children left voluntarily. The Gush vowed to return to the site and denounced Premier Menachem Begin for the agreements he entered into at the Camp David summit conference.
The Gush took over the hill under cover of darkness late Monday night and proclaimed a new settlement called Allon Moreh after a Biblical site supposed to have existed there. The Gush leader- ship acknowledged that the move was aimed against Begin’s promise to freeze new settlements on the West Bank while peace negotiations are in progress. The Cabinet, meeting in special session Monday, decided that the squatters were to be removed if they failed to leave the site.